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- - ..._...'_-rJ_l:_b __ ....... r . 




FOUNDED in 1926, the Ama- 
ur Cinema League has advised and 
ded more than 100,000 home movie 
akers in over two decades of consult- 
g activity. 

Out of this rich experience, the staff 
the League has written the most 
mplete, most balanced and most 
anted book ever published on movie 
aking for the amateur . . . 

ke table of contents tells the story: 

HAT IS A MOVIE7-A fundamental discus- 
>n of films and filming. 
HAT MAKES A MOVIE?-The basic prin 
)les of the motion picture; scene, sequence 
d camera viewpoint. 

MOVIE'S CHIEF TOOLS-Essentials of your 
mera, film and projector. 
oblems of exposure, focus, scene length and 
mera handling. 

.M PLANS AND SCRIPTS-How. to develop 
y film theme in easy and entertaining con- 

me first from the camera of every home 
>vie maker. 

cessory lenses, filters, tripod, exposure meter 
d the advanced camera. 
IE CAMERA STEPS OUT-Pictures of picnics, 
lidays, games and outdoor sports. 
d producing the travel film, by auto, train, 
me or ship. 

(Continued on back flap) 

jclcef design by Victor Ancona, ACL 



Blacksrone Studios 








New York, New York, 17, U. S. A. 

COPYRIGHT, 1940, 1943 AND 1949, 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, must 
not be reproduced in any form without permission. 



















INDEX 305 


THIS book is offered as an aid to personal filmers who 
want to make better movies and who are willing to read, 
study and learn, as a means to that end. 
Since this volume is given to every member of the Amateur 
Cinema League, it is a statement of the fundamental practices 
of movie making that he will employ. It will aid those who 
use eight millimeter or sixteen millimeter film. It does not 
discuss theatrical motion pictures. The information that will 
be found in the instruction books that accompany cameras 
and other equipment is not repeated here. While beginners are 
well served by this book, it is not planned as other books 
have been to take a new movie maker forward by degrees. 
It is intended to give a sufficiently full statement of funda- 
mentals, to serve new and old filmers alike. 

The ACL Movie Book is, we believe, unique in its author- 
ship. The product of more than twenty years of experience 
with amateur movie makers and their interests, the volume 
combines the trained advisory skills of the League's consult- 
ing staff with the first hand know-how of practicing filmers. 
As such, The ACL Movie Book has already aided tens of 
thousands of amateur filmers in making better movies. We 
sincerely believe that it will also aid you. 



A" IOVIE is the most faithful record of the living world 
that man's genius has yet devised. It lets us look at, 
and listen to, the past with fewer obstacles than we 
should have met if we had tried to observe that past when 
it was the present, because a movie can recreate an event, 
in actual motion and sound, just as it really happened, and 
can then present a similar record of what occurred five thou- 
sand miles away, without losing time. This is a feat beyond 
the present capacity of any other human mechanism. 

Yet the visual record is made by the movie with no recently 
discovered magic. The accomplishment consists in uniting 
two facts with which we have been familiar for a long time. 
Photography has used light to record images on sensitive sur- 
faces since the days of Daguerre, more than a hundred years 
ago; human beings have, since the dawn of their experience, 
had what scientists call persistence of vision. If we look at 
something bright and if it is quickly removed from view, it 
will seem to hold over for a brief flash of time. This flash 
is enough to give us motion pictures, which are only still pic- 
tures projected on a screen fast enough, one after another, 
to create what appears to be continuous motion. 

Although movies are built up from photography and per- 
sistence of vision, they constitute something new, so the art 
of making and showing them has been given the new name 
of cinematography. This is, putting it very simply, the act of 
recording on a ribbon of film a series of still photographs that 


will, when they are projected serially on a screen, create the il- 
lusion of a world in actual life. Moreover, since it is possible 
to convert sound waves to light waves, and these, in turn, 
back again into sound waves, cinematography can record 
sounds, on these film ribbons, which add to the reality of the 
illusion, and, by a chemical extension of the photographic 
process, the entire movie can be made in natural colors. It 
is about the practice of cinematography that this book is 

New methods and tools 

The principles of the movie are old, but its special tools 
and methods are new. Borrowed from photography, the pic- 
torial recording instrument is called a camera. The camera's 
essentials are a lens, to direct light, in order to make a picture 
on the sensitive surface of the film; a shutter, to cut off light 
when the film moves, and to permit light to reach the film 
when the latter is motionless; special machinery, to move the 
film ribbon past the lens in a series of accurate stops and 
starts; spindles upon which the film ribbon is wound. All these 
are, with the exception of the lens, placed inside a housing 
or case which is impervious to light, to prevent the film's 
being acted upon by unwanted and undirected light. 

Movie film is similar to photographic film in nearly every- 
thing but its dimensions. It is a long ribbon, spooled in various 
lengths to fit various cameras and other mechanisms; the 
commonly used widths are thirty five millimeters the 
theatrical type sixteen millimeters and eight millimeters 
the non theatrical types and nine and a half millimeters a 
European type. Many of these widths are available in color 
film and in sound film. 

The sound recording instrument is known, variously, as a 
sound camera or a sound recorder, depending upon whether 
the sound is initially recorded on the same film as are the 
pictures. It has a more complicated mechanism for transform- 
ing sound waves into light waves. 


The instrument that is used to show the movie is called 
a projector. Its basic essentials are a projection lamp, giving 
a strong light, whose beam can be focused upon the film by 
means of an optical system; a mechanism for moving the film 
past the light, in a series of accurate stops and starts, as in 
the camera; a shutter, serving the same purpose as does that of 
the camera; a lens, to magnify the film image and to throw it 
upon the projection surface; reel arms upon which the por- 
tion of the film to be projected and that which has been 
projected are wound. The lamp and the optical system only 
need be enclosed in a housing, because the film that is pro- 
jected is no longer sensitive to light. For protection, a part of 
the film advancing mechanism is also enclosed. Sound projec- 
tors have additional means of transforming the light waves of 
the sound record back again into the original sound waves. 

Although movies may be shown on any fairly light colored, 
smooth surface, they will be seen better if they are projected 
on a screen. This consists of an appropriate area which has 
been covered with a scientifically determined reflecting 

All these special tools and methods will be discussed in 
greater detail later in this book. Many additional facilities 
and procedures will be given fuller treatment. 

Kinds of movies 

Although the movies with which most of us were first 
acquainted are of the theatrical kind and although more 
people see theatrical movies, at present, than other varieties, 
yet theatrical motion pictures are only one clan of the movie 
tribe. They are, as their name suggests, films shown in 
theatres, the prime purpose of which is to attract paying 
audiences; it follows, therefore, that most theatres find it 
easier to secure paying customers for what we generally call 
entertainment pictures than for other types whose chief func" 
tion is to instruct or persuade. 

Personal movies are made by individuals for whatever 


purpose those individuals may have in mind. They vary from 
family records, through vacation and travel stories, scenic 
presentations and films of special events to records of particu- 
lar kinds that are more conveniently grouped into a further 
category, that is referred to in the next paragraph. Personal 
movies represent the true "freedom of the screen" concerning 
which so much public discussion has occurred, as related to 
theatrical motion pictures. Since movie making is available, 
at very reasonable cost, to everybody in the world, people 
everywhere can, and do, put on film the record of their 
personal interests and the presentation of their personal 

The term, special purpose movies, is somewhat of a catch 
all classification to include films, not of the theatrical or 
personal types. Among these we find the human record, a 
study of some particular phase of man's activity, such as the 
ways of Eskimo fishers, life in an Andean village, an urban 
art colony and other ethnological and social manifestations. 
There is the business film in which are recorded the various 
processes of business and industry. The surgical, dental or 
medical film serves the purpose of a clinic, for a wider group. 
Teaching films are used for instruction as a normal part of 
modern pedagogy. Religious films are employed in religious 
activities, and they include movies illustrating the work of 
missions, historical records of churches and parishes, exposi- 
tions of ritual, tales from the Bible or other sacred books 
and pictures that set forth moral lessons. The scientific movie 
is a statement of scientific performances and methods. Per- 
suasive movies try to bring those who see them to accept 
a particular point of view, for or against something. Photo- 
plays are acted stories that are presented in cinematographic 

These special purpose films are made by individuals, by 
groups of persons acting cooperatively and non commercially 
or by professional producing units, for profit. They are some- 


times called practical, as distinguished from hobby movies. 
They are frequently more elaborately conceived and executed 
than are personal movies. 

Of these three general categories of movie making and 
showing, none is more important than the others. Each has 
its own reason for being and each may, and does, develop 
its special technique. Who would get the best from his movie 
equipment should understand the difference between these 
three general types of filming and should not make the mis- 
take of assuming that methods, applicable to one are equally 
successful with all. 

This book will offer no further discussion of theatrical 
movies. It will not help anybody who wishes to acquire 
proficiency in theatrical movie making, except as a state- 
ment of some obvious fundamentals. It is intended to serve 
those who wish to make personal or special purpose movies 
that are not primarily designed for theatrical entertainment. 
The number of personal and special purpose filmers is so 
large that their particular needs deserve definite response, 
which this book tries to give. 


WHEN somebody invites you to look at his movies, 
you expect to see people and things in motion, for 
it is motion that makes the movie. The capacity to 
record action is the peculiar magic of the movie camera. 

On the other hand, nobody is interested in a picture that 
offers nothing but haphazard action a film in which unrelated 
people, trees, cars and buildings go whizzing past on the screen. 
This is but the raw material of a movie. The use of this raw 
material must be intelligently controlled by the filmer, for a 
movie, like anything else a man says, must make sense. 

When we first have a movie camera in our hands, we are 
eager to use it to press the button and shoot something. 
We rush hurriedly to the instruction booklet to learn how 
to put film in the camera and how to set the lens. This seems 
to be the logical thing to do. Here is the new camera; we 
shall learn how to operate it. 

Suppose that we approach our first picture in an entirely 
different way, a way which, on the surface, may seem to be 
completely illogical. Let us think of the movies that we 
should like to make even before we learn how to use the 
camera! We shall consider what we want to film, before we 
film it. 

This brings us to the first guide post on the road to good 


movie making. It reads, What shall our movie be about? In 
this simple query, we find the first step toward the kind of 
filming that will delight our audiences and give us a sense 
of real accomplishment. 

We have all seen those amateur movies that are not "about 

One scene follows another on the screen without connection. 
First, we see a shot of Mother getting out of the car; then 
comes a scene of Brother Bill on the front porch; a view of 
some rose bushes flashes on the screen, and Mike, the 
Irish terrier, bounces into the scene to capture the camera's 
uncertain attention, as he races over the lawn. Then, un- 
expectedly, there is a shot of Main Street and a view of four 
or five persons waving their hands, as they walk toward the 

That is the method of exposing film in a snapshot camera, 
and, at first glance, there would seem to be no reason why 
we should not follow the same haphazard procedure with 
movies. But there is an all important difference between the 
movie and the still photograph. The movie is made up of 
a series of scenes, projected in succession on a screen in a 
darkened room, while each still photograph is a unit in itself, 
and it may be viewed, entirely disassociated from other shots 
that you exposed on the same roll of film. 

Movie scenes, following, one after another, on the screen, 
are inevitably connected in the mind of the viewer. If the 
scenes have no relationship, the result is chaos. If the movie 
were simply an animated snapshot, the proper technique 
would be to screen each scene separately, a procedure that 
at once would eliminate the movie's chief advantage, its story 
telling capacity, and which would be very difficult mechani- 

Movie scenes are presented in succession on the screen, and 
they must bear relationship to one another, just as do suc- 
cessive sentences in our speech when we are talking to some- 


body. Like a speaker, the movie commands the attention 
of its audience for a given period of time, and, if each scene 
in the film is unrelated to what precedes or follows it, the 
net effect is the same as it would be if the speaker were to 
present a different topic with every sentence that he uttered 

We need a subject 

So, a good movie must be made about something. It can be 
filmed about anything that interests you; it can be as brief as 
you like, or as long as you like. You can even make two movies 
on one roll of film. You can devote the first half of the reel to 
showing Baby who gets his bath out of doors on a summer 
morning and the second half to Fred or Mary, who runs an 
errand for Mother, plays croquet or rakes leaves off the drive- 

"But why use all that film on one subject, when one shot 
would do?" asks the economically minded movie maker. 

Film costs money, it is true. But you want to get your 
money's value from it. If you film Baby at his bath or in the 
play pen, you want to see something of him something 
that will recall, in the years to come, his personality, his own, 
individual mannerisms and how he smiles. You really want to 
see the baby and you want to make the whole incident live 
again on your screen. 

Then, if you do not use the footage for a real movie, you 
will use it for pot shots, and that is real waste, for, after 
you have grown accustomed to the miracle of motion pictures 
on your own screen, these heterogeneous shots will be 
meaningless to you. They will be meaningless to others, the 
first time that they see them. 

Suppose that the first movie is to be a story of Baby's 
bath, staged out of doors so that we can film it easily. We 
could make it something like this: 

Scene 1. Mother comes out of the front door, carrying 


tub, soap and towels. (We stop the camera when 
Mother has left the camera field.) 

Scene 2. Mother places the tub on the lawn. She stands 
back and surveys the arrangement, then leaves 
the scene. (The camera, which has been held 
steady, so that Mother and the tub are centered 
in the finder, is stopped when Mother leaves.) 

Scene 3. The same view as in the preceding shot, but 
taken closer to the tub. Junior or Dad enters the 
scene, with warm water in buckets, and fills the 
tub. While this takes place, Mother enters the 
scene again, this time with Baby in her arms. 

Scene 4. Come closer yet, to show Mother seated on the 
grass beside the tub, undressing Baby. 

Scene 5. Mother puts Baby into the tub, or he tries to 
climb in, himself. (For this shot, step nearer to 
the action, but include all of Baby and the tub 
and most of Mother. Take this scene from the 
side opposite that of the preceding views just 
for the sake of variety.) 

Scene 6. Baby in the tub, fishing for the soap which he 
finds and squeezes in his hands with delight. 
(For this scene, come so close that Baby and his 
tub almost fill the finder of your camera. Now 
you can see Baby very clearly. You might sit 
down to make this shot.) 

Scene 7. Now stand, step backward a pace or two and 
point the camera downward toward Baby. 
Maybe he has lost the soap, and is fishing for it 


Call to him and get him to look up at the camera. 
(His attention will soon return to the mystery of 
the soap.) Now, Mother's hands come into the 
scene, as she begins the bath. 

Scene 8. Get back far enough to include most of Mother 
in the scene, as she bathes Baby, while Baby tries 
to help her by splashing. 

Scene 9. Here, we get very close, to show Baby crowing 
and gurgling as he enjoys his bath. (Mother's 
hands may come into the picture as she applies 
the wash cloth, but Baby's head and shoulders, 
and part of the tub, almost fill the view, as we 
see it in the finder.) 

Scene 10. Now we film the action again from about the 
same position that we used for Scene 8. Mother 
is bathing Baby maybe Baby has the soap and 
Mother takes it from him. Baby regards her 
with an injured look. 

Scene 11. We go back farther, to show all of Mother finish- 
ing the job. Junior or Dad is now in the scene, 
watching. The bath is over; Mother takes Baby 
from the tub. 

Scene 12. Come very close again, so that only Baby is 
seen in Mother's lap, with Mother's hands 
drying him. 

Scene 13. At a point almost as close, lie down on the 
ground and turn the camera upward to catch 
the faces of both Baby and Mother, as she dries 
him with the towel. Mother and Baby will be 


shown against the sky as background, and per- 
haps there will be clouds to beautify the scene. 

Scene 14. Include all of Mother and Baby, as Mother 
dresses Baby. 

Scene 15. (From a different viewpoint, here, and a little 
farther away, to show all the action of the fol- 
lowing scene.) Mother has finished dressing 
Baby, and she puts him on the ground. Baby 
crawls or toddles toward the tub; perhaps he 
wants the soap. But the bath is over, and Mother 
rushes to pick him up. 

Scene 16. A different part of the yard, with the play pen 
centered in the finder. (Stand so close that the 
play pen almost fills the lens field.) Mother 
comes into the scene, with Baby in her arms, and 
puts him into the play pen. 

Scene 17. Come quite close, so that Baby almost fills the 
finder. Call to Baby, to get him to look at you. 
(The last scene is this close view of Baby, freshly 
bathed and dressed, smiling at you behind the 
camera. Perhaps he is trying to climb out of 
the play pen, to reach the soap.) 

This is a complete and unified movie, for these scenes are 
all related to each other; they are linked together in con- 
tinuous succession, so this movie is said to have a "continuity," 
to distinguish it from a "hit or miss" series of snapshots in 
motion. This quality of continuity is as important in good 
film making as is exposure or focus. 

This movie could be used as a block, in building a longer, 
composite picture of Baby. The next section could show, in 


fewer scenes, how Baby is weighed; the third could present 
Baby's outing, when Mary takes him for a ride in his carriage. 
In these short movies, all scenes are connected, and the action 
is normal and natural, because both youngsters and adults 
are doing something that takes their attention from the cam- 
era. Mother is busy with Baby's bath; Mary puts Baby into 
the carriage and wheels it. Here is the secret of avoiding self 
conscious camera shyness, for people look and act their best 
when they are doing something that occupies their attention. 
Don't worry about Baby; he is never self conscious, which is 
one of the reasons why he is such a delightful camera subject. 

Scenes are made from different viewpoints 

It would have been possible to film Baby's bath from one 
camera position one could stand away far enough to include 
the front door of the house and the bath tub on the lawn. But 
that would be ridiculous, because one would not get a close 
view of Baby. The movie was broken up into separate indi- 
vidual "scenes," and, for each of these, the camera was placed 
close enough to exclude anything that was not important to 
the story. 

That procedure enabled the audience to see Baby and 
Mother better to observe what they were doing and why 
they were doing it. Further, there was the advantage of variety, 
for one long scene would have been very monotonous. 

The camera can parallel the procedure that we follow in 
real life. We step backward for a general view and we walk 
nearer for a closer look. When we want to see the whole garden, 
we stand on the porch or on the street; when we want to look 
at a rose, we walk up to the bush and single out one flower 
from the others. The only difference is that we continue to 
look "between scenes," so to speak, while the camera must 
not. It is a waste of film and of screen time to show interven- 
ing movements between the longer view and the closer. Each 
scene must be steady, complete in itself. 



The scene is the basic unit 

The scene is the basic unit that makes up a movie, so, 
before we press the button, we must think exactly of what 
action or subject matter we want to have in a given scene, 
and we must also consider from what point of view we shall 
film it. Then we stand still, hold the camera steady and press 
the button. When the action that we want to film is com- 
pleted, we stop the camera. Before we begin a second shot, 
we must make sure that the action for the new scene is ready. 

Suppose that Dorothy, has been pressed by Mother to help 
her by shelling peas, for dinner. There is a good movie subject, 
for Dorothy, who is at an age when she might be self conscious, 
will have her attention taken by the task. We might film her 
as follows: 

Scene 1. Medium shot. 

Dorothy in a chair, in the garden, reading a book. 
Mother comes into the scene with a pan of peas 
and an empty pan for the shelled peas. 

This shot introduces the subject; it is 
taken from a point that is sufficiently dis- 
tant that the audience can see where Dor- 
othy is seated. The view must include 
Mother, when she enters the scene. 

Scene 2. Semi closeup. 

Mother gives Dorothy the two pans, and, 
luctantly, Dorothy begins work on the peas. 


This shot is made from a closer position, 
because we want to show that Mother is 
talking to Dorothy and we want to see 
what Mother carries. 



Scene 3. Closeup. 

Dorothy's face, while her attention is fixed on the 

This is made from a position still nearer 

^ &^ ^\| \.\ to the subject; Mother is out of the scene 

x T^v^A A now, and we can get closer to Dorothy, to 

* f give the audience a chance to see her 

clearly. Hold the camera low and shoot 
upward to catch Dorothy's face against 
the background of sky, framed by tree 

Scene 4. Closeup. 

Dorothy's hands at work in the large pan of peas. 

Now we have a chance to see the details of 
what Dorothy is doing. 

Scene 5. Medium shot. 

Dorothy shelling peas. She picks up her book 
and arranges it, to read while she is at work. 

We come back, once more, to a general 
view, to close the episode. (We should 
make this shot from a different angle, to 
avoid a repetition of the first view. It 
might be filmed from a porch or a balcony, 
so that we could point the camera down- 
ward to catch a pleasantly composed scene 
of Dorothy and the shadows on the 
ground, cast by the leaves of trees, over- 

In these five shots, as they are shown in the illustration, the 
variation in camera viewpoint tells the story. So that the audi- 
ence can follow every detail and can also get a pleasant view of 


Dorothy, the camera was moved from a general view of the 
scene, showing the background, to a nearer view, showing 
Mother and Dorothy. Then the camera was moved yet closer 
to register the expression on Dorothy's face. To satisfy the 
audience's curiosity about what Dorothy was doing, we took 
another close view this one, of her hands. 

These various camera positions have been given general 
names medium shot, semi closeup and closeup to identify 
them among movie makers. The terms are not exact and they 
refer to no definite distances from camera to subject, but what 
they do indicate, as it is seen through the viewfinder or on the 
screen, is clearly shown in the illustration. Camera positions 
are discussed in greater detail in Chapter V. 

Notice that, in scenes of Dorothy, we not only used a 
variety of distances from camera to subject, but also employed 
different camera viewpoints, to tell the story. 

For Scene 3, we pointed the camera upward, to get the full 
closeup of Dorothy, for she was looking downward while she 
was shelling the peas. By changing the angle from the hori- 
zontal, we got a much better view of Dorothy and we also 
obtained an attractive background from the sky, framed 
with branches of the trees. 

When we wanted to show in detail what Dorothy was doing, 
we pointed the camera downward at her hands, and the last 
shot was made with a downward angle, to avoid similarity to 
the first and to take advantage of the added decoration of the 
shadows of the leaves. 

Again the camera follows our procedure in real life; for we 
look upward and downward, as well as straight ahead. We 
look at a thing from the angle that gives the best view of it, 
and, in selecting camera positions, the movie maker proceeds 
in the same way. 


In movie terminology, a series of scenes of one subject, all 
the shots of which are related to each other and are made 
from different viewpoints, is called a "sequence." The series of 


shots of Dorothy shelling the peas is a typical sequence. 
Movies are made up of a number of such sequences or sections. 
For example, in a film of A Day in the Life of the Smith 
Family, after the sequence of Dorothy shelling the peas might 
come one of Tom washing the car, while this could be followed 
by a sequence of Junior at work on his model boat. 

A sequence is the next unit after the individual scene. Just 
as the scene can be compared to the sentence in writing, the 
sequence can be considered as the paragraph. When you have 
completed the sequence, you have shown all that you want 
to present about a particular subject or activity. 

Sequences need not commence with long or medium shots. 
There is no definite formula. In fact, a sequence could begin 
with a closeup. For example, we might open a sequence of 
Jim washing the car, by a closeup of a hand turning an out- 
door faucet. Then, the next shot a semi closeup would 
reveal Jim as the owner of the hand, while the following 
scene, a medium shot, would show him, clad in boots, holding 
a sponge in one hand and a hose in the other, with the car 
in the background. 

As a rule, a sequence presents a general view of the subject 
in its background, after which the camera comes closer, to give 
a clearer view. It may come still closer, to show more detail. 
A last look at the subject from a different angle can conclude 
the sequence. This procedure is designed to satisfy natural 
human curiosity, because everybody wants a general view of 
anything and also wishes a closer inspection of interesting 

Sequences may be made of any subject. We can have a 
sequence of a church, a brook, a monument, as well as of a 
boy fishing or of Dorothy shelling peas. In fact, it is a truism 
of movie making that any subject, worth one shot is worth 
at least three from different camera positions. These make 
a sequence automatically. 

Experienced movie makers have come to recognize this so 
fully that they speak of "filming a sequence" rather than of 
"filming a scene." 


BOTH a movie camera and a still camera produce pic- 
tures by the action of light on sensitive film, but there 
is a marked difference between the two mechanisms. 
This difference follows from the fact that, while a still camera 
is designed to make individual still pictures, a movie camera 
is built to record numerous small pictures on a long ribbon 
of film, which, when they are projected with the proper equip- 
ment, will produce the illusion of motion on the screen. 

It is in creating this illusion of continuous motion that the 
important difference between the two cameras lies. When one 
understands what makes a movie appear to move, the prin- 
ciples of the mechanism of his movie camera will become 
very clear to him. 

Look at the strips of movie film that are shown on page 
27, and you will see that they consist of a number of individ- 
ual pictures, each of which is quite motionless in itself. But 
each picture, or "frame," as it is called, following the illustra- 
tion from the top downward, represents a successive stage in 
the motion of the subject. When these pictures are flashed 
on the screen in quick succession, the subject will appear to 

If these flashes occur at a speed of sixteen a second, the 
eye will not detect that they actually are separate, individual 
glimpses of still pictures, but it will see the scene as a con- 
tinuous, uninterrupted flow of motion. The slowness of our 
eyes and nervous systems makes possible the illusion of the 
motion picture. 



So, the movie camera really records a series of still pictures 
on a long ribbon of film, which runs through the camera at 
a speed that will permit us to take sixteen successive pictures 
in each second in which the camera is in operation. The motion 
of the film through the camera must be precise, and the rate 
of speed must be exactly uniform, to produce the illusion of 
the movie. Therefore, a motor, usually of the spring variety, 
is required; one must wind this, before using the camera. 

The camera's essentials 

The essential parts of the camera's interior mechanism, 
illustrated in the diagram on the opposite page, are as follows: 

A. The aperture the area in which is cast the image of 

the scene, as it was formed by the lens. 

B. The gate the channel plate which guides the film 

past the aperture, and there holds it 

C. The claw which pulls the film down, past the 

aperture, frame by frame, and which al- 
lows it to remain stationary in the gate 
for the fraction of a second that is re- 
quired for exposure. 

(Note: the film is not moved steadily past the gate, for 
all the images would be blurred, if that were done. It is 
pulled down by the claw in a series of jerks, or intermittently. 
A frame is pulled down, and is allowed to rest in the gate for 
a fraction of a second and, then, the next frame is pulled 
down. This happens at a rate of sixteen frames a second, 
when the camera is operated at normal speed.) 

D. The shutter this intercepts the light coming from 

the lens, during the time in which the 
claw is pulling down a frame of film. 
When the frame is in position, the open 
sector of the shutter comes in front of 




the film and allows the light to strike 
the frame. Then the shutter rotates, 
and cuts off the light, while the claw 
pulls the next frame down into position. 

E. The sprocket this draws the film from the supply 

spool and feeds it, in a loop, to the claw. 
The loop provides the slack that insures 
the intermittent flow of the film. This 
slack, on either side of the gate, allows 
the film to flow continuously from the 
supply reel and continuously to the 
takeup reel, when the camera is run- 
ning. (Some cameras operate without 
sprockets or loops.) 

F. The supply reel this is the roll of fresh film that has 

been loaded in the camera. 

G. The takeup reel on this reel, the film winds, after it has 

been exposed. When all the film has 
been exposed, this reel, now full, is re- 
moved from the camera, placed in its 
pasteboard container and is then re- 
turned to its manufacturer's processing 

Placing the film properly in the camera, as it is illustrated 
in this diagram, is called threading. The construction of differ- 
ent cameras varies, but each is supplied with an instruction 
booklet which will show, by diagrams and text, how to thread 

Threading is simplified in the magazine loading camera, 
because the film is automatically engaged with the camera's 
driving mechanism when the magazine is put in place and 
the camera case is closed. 

Outside the camera, conveniently located on its case, is the 
button or lever, by which the camera mechanism may be 


started and stopped. There, also, will be found the key, by 
which the spring motor is wound, and a footage meter which 
tells you how much unexposed film remains in the camera. 
In addition, there may be a means of controlling the camera's 
speed. There are several standard camera speeds, although 
that of sixteen frames a second is generally employed in 
silent filming. The other speeds that are used in creating the 
effect of slow or fast motion, will be discussed later. 

Every camera has a viewfinder through which one looks, to 
determine the scene that he is filming. This viewfinder may be 
one of several types, but, by peering through it, one can see 
exactly the scene that he will capture, except when the camera 
is very close to the subject. Then there is a slight divergence 
of a few inches, because the viewfinder, although it is very 
close to the camera's lens, does not occupy exactly the same 
position as the lens, whence the fields of the two are not 
identical. This slight divergence is called "parallax." 

8mm,. and 16mm. 

The wide use of movies for non theatrical purposes was 
brought about by the introduction of more economical and 
more convenient cameras and film. These relatively recent 
additions to cinematographic equipment are commonly re- 
ferred to by the millimetric width of the film employed. There 
are 8mm. cameras and 16mm. cameras; there is 8mm. film 
and 16mm. film. 

The 8mm. camera produces for projection a film that is 
eight millimeters wide; the 16mm. camera is designed to be 
used with film of twice that width, or sixteen millimeters. 
Pictures made with 8mm. cameras are less expensive than 
those obtained with 16mm. cameras; any unit of time, in the 
screening, costs less, if 8mm. film is used, than if 16mm. film 
is employed. (See the illustration on page 27.) 

The 16mm. movie film that is used in making silent movies 
bears a row of perforations near each of its edges, in which 


the camera's sprockets engage. It is offered, in the various 
types of black and white and color emulsions soon to be dis- 
cussed, in daylight loading spools of fifty, one hundred and 
two hundred foot capacity and in magazine loads of fifty feet 

Despite the name of the system being used (8mm. movies) , 
film offered for 8mm. cameras is actually 16mm. in width. As 
such, it is known as "Double-Eight" film, and it has now com- 
pletely replaced the Single-Eight film (only 8mm. wide) which 
also was offered in the early days of the 8mm. system. With 
the double-eight film, the spool or magazine is run through 
the camera once, exposing a row of pictures 8mm. wide; it is 
then turned over, re-inserted in the camera, and a second 
row of pictures is then exposed down the opposite edge back 
to the starting point. After processing by the film manufac- 
turer, this 16mm. strip of film is slit lengthwise and the two 
lengths are joined together to create one length of 8mm. film 
for projection. 

Double-eight film, in black and white and color types, is 
offered in twenty five foot daylight loading spools and in 
twenty five foot magazines. 

Loading the camera 

When you thread the camera, do not hesitate to unwind 
enough film for the operation; this extra footage will be 
trimmed off at the processing station, and you will gain noth- 
ing by trying to use it for a scene. However, watch the roll 
carefully while you thread the camera, lest it slip in your 
hands and the coils loosen. 

The film is sensitive to light, and it will certainly be spoiled 
if it is exposed to light, when the camera is open. The rolls 
of film are designed for daylight loading, and the flange 
on the spool will protect the film from ordinary daylight. But 
one must not load the camera in the bright rays of direct 
sunlight, because, in that event, a little light may seep under- 


neath the flange of the reel and produce "edge fog," a waver- 
ing area of white glare on the projected picture. 

If you are loading the camera in the open, it is best to look 
for a shady spot or, if it is necessary to thread a new roll of 
film when you are in bright sunlight, to shade the camera 
with your body. 

After the camera has been loaded with a new roll of film, 
and before you replace the camera cover, push the button 
or lever and operate the mechanism for one or two seconds, 
to make sure that the film is running through it properly. 
If the loops of film (your camera may operate without loops) 
collapse during this operation, rethread the camera, by dis- 
connecting the film and starting again. These loops are all im- 
portant in cameras that employ them, because, without them, 
film may run through the machine, but indistinguishable 
blurs, instead of pictures, will result. 

Follow carefully the instruction book that comes with your 
camera, and you will not err in the threading operation. The 
diagrams in your instruction book will make the whole process 

Practice threading your camera with an old roll of film or 
with the short strip that most manufacturers supply with the 
camera. Familiarity with the operation, thus gained, will save 
good film later. 

In threading the camera, be sure that you do not hurry. 
Take all the time, necessary to make sure that you have cov- 
ered the essential motions; doing this will prevent camera 
jams and delays when you are filming. 

With a magazine camera, of course, the problem of loading 
is simplified. You have only to put the magazine in place 
and to close the cover. But, even so, remember that the 
magazine fits in only one position; if it does not immediately 
drop or push into place, don't use brute force. Take time, 
to be sure that it is properly seated. 


Care of the camera 

Caring for the camera is important, and it may be summed 
up in two words protection and cleanliness. It is foolish to 
deal roughly with an expensive mechanism that performs 
such precise functions as does the movie camera. Don't leave 
the loaded instrument in hot sunlight or in dusty places. 

Care in threading the film and in cleaning within the case 
is well advised. After every two or three spools of film have 
been exposed, clean the gate and aperture according to the 
manufacturer's instructions. 

If you neglect your camera, your pictures will suffer. Film 
scratches that are acquired in the camera are almost invari- 
ably caused by failure to clean the gate. Particles of the soft 
coating may become separated from the film at this point; 
if these are left to harden, they will build up a sharp edge 
which causes an annoying scratch in the film. This cannot 
be remedied afterward; you must prevent it, by cleaning the 

Some cameras require oiling, while others do not; naturally, 
one will follow the instructions that apply to his individual 
instrument. If oil is needed, never use more than a drop or 
two, carefully placed. This amount is sufficient, if the manu- 
facturer's instructions for frequency of oiling are followed. 

The lens 

A primary link, of greatest importance, in the chain of 
operations that produce a successful picture is the camera 
lens. This is a collection of small glass units (known as ele- 
ments) which are held in a tubular mount, that is called the 
lens barrel. These elements, all working together, bend light 
rays to form a tiny picture, or image, which is arranged to 
fall on the surface of the film through the camera aperture. 

Since it is the function of the lens to collect the light rays 
which emanate from any subject that is placed in front of 
the camera, we point the lens at the subject, and some of 



these rays reach the curved surface of the front element of the 
lens. The curvature of the glass elements in the lens acts to 
bend these light rays, to form a minute image or reproduction 
of the scene, on the surface of the film. 

The lens that is most generally used on movie cameras forms 
a picture that has a comparable perspective to that which is 
seen by the human eye. If you want to include a greater area, 
without moving the camera farther from the subject, a "wide 
angle lens" is used. If one wishes to magnify the appearance 
of subjects on the screen, but with the result that less is in- 
cluded in the picture, the answer is found in lenses with bar- 
rels, longer than normal or in "telephoto lenses." They may be 
compared to opera glasses that are used to extend ordinary 

The geometrical diagram will demonstrate that the nearer 
the lens is placed to the film, the wider is the resultant angle 
of view. Hence, the lens that includes greater scene area 
makes objects look smaller, although the area included in the 
picture is larger; the reverse is true of longer barreled and tele- 
photo lenses. 

Lenses placed nearer to the film will give wider 
angles of view. The size of the aperture is fixed. 


Lenses which collect a great amount of light are called "fast 
lenses." They give brighter images at the aperture and, hence, 
they are convenient, when the subject is poorly lighted. Fast 
lenses are more expensive than slower lenses, by reason of 
the greatly increased technical difficulties which must be 
overcome in their manufacture. 

An important part of the lens assembly is the "diaphragm," 
which will be discussed in detail later. Its major function is 
to control the amount of light that passes through the lens. 

The physical care of the lens, your camera's eye, is impor- 
tant. If one carelessly exposes its front surface to dust and 
finger marks, he runs the risk of spoiling the performance of 
this essential instrument. Keep dust out of your lens as you 
would keep it out of your own eyes, if you expect your camera 
to see clearly. It is prudent to protect the lens with a lens cap, 
at all times, when pictures are not being taken only don't 
forget to remove the cap when you shoot! Inspect the surface 
of the lens before you begin to film, to see that it is clean. 
Lens tissue may be used, to remove dust or finger prints. 

If strong light should fall directly on the front surface of a 
lens, it may cause "lens flare." The result of this, on the screen, 
will be a "fuzzy," washed out, bright area, usually near the 
edge of the picture. Look through the finder, to see that no 
bright source of light is included in the scene. This might be a 
lighting unit, in the case of interior filming, or the sun, itself, 
when you are shooting out of doors. All lenses are fitted with 
a hood which helps to obviate lens flare. 


The movie film, which records and preserves the images 
formed by the lens, is a long, transparent ribbon, on which 
is coated a thin layer of gelatin, impregnated with certain 
chemicals and dyes which make it sensitive to light. The trans- 
parent support is called the "base," while the light sensitive 
gelatin coating is called the "emulsion." 

Earl L. Clark, ACL 

16mm. frame enlarged 

Leo Caloia 




1 6mm. 8mm. 

Note the progression of motion in 
the successive frames of the 16mm. 
strip at the left. 

OVER- 4 //f 


' **;$?* 




Loss of detail in the 
high lights marks an 
overexposed shot, 
while underexposure 
eliminates details in 
the shadows and ac- 
centuates the high 


The film is arranged to pass through the camera gate, so 
that the emulsion faces the lens. On most modern reversal 
films, one side has a dark coating, while the other side is of 
a light gray or yellow green color. This latter bears the emul- 
sion, which is thus easily identified. The dark, "anti halation" 
coating, as it is called, also helps to protect the film from 
stray light, while it is wound on the spool. This coating is re- 
moved in processing. 

Amateur movies were popularized by the perfection of "re- 
versal film," because of the saving in cost that this introduced. 
Today, most personal and special purpose pictures are made 
on reversal film. 

To understand the reversal process, consider, for a moment, 
the film that you use in a still camera. After your roll is devel- 
oped, you have "negatives" in which values are reversed 
black things are white and white things are black. From this 
negative, a "print," or "positive," is made, in which values are 
normal. For the procedure, two films are required a positive 
and a negative. This method is employed, to provide the films 
projected in movie theatres today. A negative reel is produced 
and, from this, positive prints are made. 

The reversal process introduced a new principle, because, 
by means of it, the film that was exposed in the camera and 
that was developed as a negative is "reversed," that is, it is 
chemically changed into a positive print. Thus, only one strip 
of film is required for the process, which obviously effects 
real economy. Both black and white and color movie systems 
use reversal film, with excellent results, in 8mm. and 16mm. 
widths. Perfect duplicates can be made, if extra copies of a 
particular movie are wanted. 

The positive and negative film system is also available to 
amateur movie makers who use 16mm. cameras. Its most 
important service is to facilitate the production of a large 
number of prints, if they are required. Although the negative 
and positive film system is more expensive than the reversal 


method, if only one copy of the movie is desired, it is less 
expensive, if many prints are to be used. This is true, because 
each positive print is cheaper than a duplicate of a reversal 

Various types of black and white movie film, regardless of 
width 8mm. or 16mm. differ in their sensitivity to light. 
Some emulsions are more sensitive to light and will produce 
pictures under conditions of relatively dim illumination, while 
less sensitive film would not. The more sensitive emulsion is 
called "fast." Since it requires greater complexity in manu- 
facture, it is more expensive than the less sensitive emulsion, 
which is called "slow." 

Black and white films differ also in their rendition of colors, 
a fact that requires some explanation, especially since there 
is no color in the black and white movie. However, everything 
in nature is colored, and black and white film translates these 
colors into various shades of gray ranging from white to 
deep black. 

Your film will translate the green of trees into a certain 
shade of gray, the pink flush of skin into another and the red 
petals of a flower into their appropriate, monochromatic tone. 
Different emulsions vary in their black and white rendition 
of the colors of objects that we film. 

These two qualities sensitivity to light and rendition of 
color are the most important attributes of film, and it is in 
relation to them that films may be divided into a number of 
basic types. 

POSITIVE FILM, or "color blind film," is the first of these. 
This film, that is manufactured primarily for use in making 
positive prints of negatives and for title work, may be exposed 
in the camera for general movie purposes. It is then reversed, 
just as is regular reversal film. 

This film is very slow; it also has the most limited range 
of color rendition. It responds largely to blue, and not at all 
to red, which it renders as black. 


This basic type is offered as a slow, color blind film by 
some distributors, who reverse it after the user has exposed 
it. A satisfactory picture may be obtained with it, if plenty 
of light is available and if the subject is such that color 
differentiation is not important. By present standards, the 
resultant image is harsh, while bright, white subjects may 
produce glare on the screen. 

ORTHOCHROMATIC FILM is the next basic type. It may be 
more sensitive to light than is the positive kind and it is also 
responsive to a larger range of colors. For example, it will rec- 
ord the greens of landscape shots in pleasant shades of gray. 
However, it will not do full justice to the yellow, orange or 
red elements in a scene. 

PANCHROMATIC FILM was developed to record, in relative 
shades of gray, all colors in their correct degrees of brightness, 
as they appear to the eye. This emulsion incorporates certain 
dyes which cause it to translate the various colors of subjects 
into black and white effects, producing substantially the same 
reaction that the eye gets from real life but this is all in 
monochrome, of course. 

Panchromatic film has a larger range of color rendition than 
has orthochromatic film, but it is not necessarily faster. 

EXTRA FAST FILM is available in panchromatic emulsions, 
generally at additional cost. Films of this type are variously 
known as "supersensitive," "double X" and "triple S," which 
are trade names that are used to indicate the speed of the film 
in relation to its manufacturer's other emulsions. 

The four basic black and white film types positive or "color 
blind," orthochromatic, panchromatic and extra fast are sold 
under specialized trade names. 

These are the basic groups of black and white movie film, 
but there remains the latest and most versatile movie record- 
ing medium natural color film. 

Modern color film requires no camera or projector at- 
tachments, to provide movie scenes in their natural colors 


This film is loaded in the camera and is exposed in the same 
way as is black and white film; it is projected just as are 
other types, for the color is inherent in the film itself, be- 
coming visible after processing. 

When this film is exposed, images are formed on three 
overlapped layers of emulsion; during processing, each of these 
automatically selects its own color complement, to produce 
a composite color image. All this is accomplished by a very 
complicated chemical and mechanical process, but the result 
is a beautiful rendition of natural color, light and shade and 

Such film is a miracle of modern science, for it places 
in the hands of the movie maker an amazingly beautiful 
medium that may be exposed and projected as easily as we 
can employ the cheapest black and white film. So far, the 
amateur movie maker has an enormous advantage over the 
cameraman of Hollywood, for, at present, no theatrical color 
film is so simple to use or so inexpensive. 

Color film is available for both 8mm. and 16mm. cameras. 
A special color film is made in both widths, for indoor use 
with incandescent light, which will be discussed later. 

When you have exposed a roll of precious movie film and 
you send it away to be processed, you want to be sure to get 
it back. Do not forget to write your name and return address 
legibly in the space on the film carton that is intended for 
that purpose. This will be the only record of your ownership 
of the film, when it reaches the processing station. 

Make sure, too, that you are not returning an unexposed 
roll of film for processing. At the end of every unprocessed 
roll, a perforated or stamped "EXPOSED" has been placed 
by the manufacturer; so, if you are in doubt as to whether 
a particular roll has gone through the camera or not, you 
have only to look for this indication at the end. 

Be careful in handling film after it has been exposed, be- 
cause it is still sensitive to light; you can destroy the latent 


image and ruin the film, if it is unrolled from the camera 
spool before it is sent to a processing station. 

When the roll of film is returned to you, it is spooled on 
a projection reel of much less sturdy construction than that 
of the camera spool. Light will no longer damage the film, 
since it has been processed; hence, this reel may have open 
or slotted sides. It must not be used as a camera takeup spool, 
however, because the undeveloped film that would be wound 
upon it would be ruined immediately, if the reel were removed 
from the camera and if light were to strike it through the 
openings in the spools. 

The projector 

The motion picture projector is essentially similar to the 
movie camera, because, just as the camera must expose, for 
normal action, a series of still pictures at the rate of sixteen 
a second, the projector must flash these on the screen at the 
same rate, to produce the illusion of motion. 

The actual mechanism that is used in the projector, to ac- 
complish the film movement, is much the same as that of the 
camera, but larger and heavier, because the projector is 
required to operate continuously over a longer period of time 
and because larger film units must be handled, to give an 
uninterrupted show. 

In the projector, we find, as in the camera, both supply 
and takeup reels. There are feed and takeup sprockets, placed 
above and below the film gate; there is a guide channel for 
the film and an aperture, while a claw operates intermittently 
to pull the film down through the gate. 

Behind the aperture of the projector is placed the lamp 
house which contains the light source that is needed to 
illuminate the film picture. This light is concentrated on the 
aperture, by means of a reflector and lens system, the lens 
arrangement being a light collecting medium, known as the 
condenser. Most projectors have accessible reflector and con- 
denser systems, which may need infrequent cleaning. 


In front of the gate is the projection lens, which magnifies 
the image and focuses it on the screen. Clearest projection 
can be had only by keeping this lens clean. 

The film channel of the projector's gate frequently picks 
up dust and other foreign material from films that are not 
kept scrupulously clean. If it is allowed to accumulate, this 
foreign matter may harden and scratch the film. So, before 
every projection, it is advisable to open the gate and to clean it 
with a soft, lintless cloth. 

If any foreign material has collected on the film track 
runners, it usually may be removed by scraping them with 
a hardwood toothpick. Do not use a sharp metal scraper of 
any kind, as this will scratch the gate's polish and will make 
matters worse. 

Projectors have electrical controls, which provide switches 
for turning the motor and the lamp on and off. There is also 
a very essential speed control, for adjusting the rate of film 
travel, to give a suitable effect on the screen. Most projectors 
have some form of tilting mechanism, to center the image on 
the screen vertically. There will be found a framing device, 
the adjustment of which will center the film picture with 
respect to the projector aperture. Also, there will be a 
mechanism, to rewind film from the lower to the upper reel, 
after it has been shown. 

The motive power of movie projectors is almost invariably 
electrical, and motors are available for use with both alternat- 
ing and direct electrical current. 

Some projectors are provided with still picture attachments, 
so that the motion of the film can be arrested, and a single 
frame can be shown on the screen. When one of these is used, a 
shutter that provides protection against heat usually drops 
down, automatically, between lamp and film. However, in 
using projectors with powerful light sources, one should not 
keep the film in the "still" position too long. 

Many machines also have a reverse motion control, which 
enables the film to be run backward or forward at will. This 


feature is especially valuable, in editing. Projectors are avail- 
able in many sizes; some of them offer interchangeable lamps 
as well as a choice of lenses. Flexibility is desirable when a 
single machine must serve small and large audiences. The 
more powerful the lamp, the larger the image it can project. 
If only a small image is needed, a powerful light source is 
neither necessary nor desirable. Projection lenses of different 
focal lengths (a term that is discussed in Chapter XV) enable 
us to produce an image of the right size, to fit the screen that 
is used, at any distance. 

Good results in projection are to be had by following care- 
fully the manufacturer's instructions, as to operation and 
care. So that no annoying interruptions may occur in the 
screen presentation, pay particular attention to threading 
the projector carefully, making sure that film perforations 
are meshed correctly with the teeth of the feed and takeup 
sprockets. See that the film is correctly seated in the film 
channel at the gate. Pay particular attention to a careful 
focus of the projection lens, and check this focus frequently 
during the course of the film showing. 

Most projectors have a protruding knob, by means of which 
the mechanism may be moved slowly by hand. Turning this 
will show whether the film is engaged properly with the 
various parts of the mechanism. Watch the takeup spool 
especially, to see whether it is receiving the film properly; this 
care will obviate a tangled coil on the floor. 


The projector produces a picture by focusing an imagt 
sharply on some kind of reflecting surface. The more effi- 
ciently this surface reflects, the more brilliant will be the pic- 
ture. It is, of course, possible to project pictures on a cream 
colored window shade or on a smooth, painted wall, but such 
surfaces are inefficient reflectors of light, and, therefore, they 
produce dim pictures. Wrinkles in these surfaces distort the 


motion picture image. A picture that is projected on a sheet 
or on an ordinary cloth will suffer in brilliancy, because light 
is lost through the translucent textile. 

Special, opaque projection surfaces are offered, to enable 
the user to get the most from his projector. These are found 
in three basic types: (1) the matte, white surface; (2) the 
silver surface and (3) the glass bead surface. All these are 
efficient reflectors, and they give good results, but the glass 
bead surface offers probably the greatest direct reflection. The 
silver surface and the matte, white surface follow in order. 

Screens of much direct reflecting power usually provide a 
less brilliant image, as one views this from an angle. Such 
screens are at their best when they are seen from a position 
that is nearer to the projector lens. If the audience can be 
arranged in a narrow group, extending in the direction of 
the projector's light beam, surfaces that give much direct re- 
flection are excellent. If the audience must be spread out on 
each side of the screen, a matte, white surface may be prefer- 
able, because of its diffusive qualities, which reflect the image 
at an angle. The physical forms in which screens may be ob- 
tained will be discussed in a later chapter. 

It is not good projection practice to try to produce a huge 
image for a small group of persons seated near the screen. 
Not only does this image impose a greater strain on the eyes 
of the audience, but also it magnifies any defects in the footage. 
The effect of natural perspective in a projected picture, for such 
an audience, is obtained from a smaller screen image, rather 
than from a large one. The use of high powered lamps, to pro- 
duce small projected images, is not advisable, as many of the 
delicate, high lighted details will be "washed out." High powered 
lamps are best used to show large pictures to large audiences. 

Essential things to remember in using camera, film and projector 


1. Clean the camera gate before threading. 


2. Run the camera a second or two with the cover off, 
to see that it is properly threaded. 

3. Make sure that the cover is locked. 

4. Set the footage meter, if it is not automatic. 

5. Set the diaphragm for the light conditions. 

6. Focus for distance, if a focusing scale is provided. 

7. Hold the camera steady. 

8. Keep the camera cover closed until the entire film is 


1. Don't let the film become loosened on the spool. 

2. Load and remove the film in shade, wherever this is 

3. Make sure that the film is exposed before inserting 
it in the mailing carton. 

4. Make sure that your return address is marked on the 
mailing carton. 


1. Clean the projector gate before threading. 

2. Turn the projector mechanism over by hand, to check 

3. Make sure that the end of the film is attached to the 
takeup reel hub. 


TO RECORD an image on movie film that will, when it 
is projected on a screen, represent clearly and realisti- 
cally what you saw in the viewfinder of your camera 
demands early consideration of the problem of exposure. 

This term, as it is used in movie making, refers to the quan- 
tity and duration of the light, reflected from the subject, that 
is permitted to reach the film through the lens. These must be 
determined precisely, if the resultant image is to be entirely 
satisfactory. Therefore, the correct exposure of any film to the 
light that will affect it is the first important phase of camera 

To realize the importance of exposure, we have to remember 
that, since light affects film, in the process of recording an 
image upon it, this effect can be either too great or too little. 
If it is to be neither of these, but, instead, one that will accom- 
plish exactly what we want, both the quantity of light and the 
time in which it is permitted to affect the film must be con- 

The sensitivity to light of the film that is threaded in your 
camera remains constant, while the lens records images upon 
it. Therefore, changes in exposure must be controlled by me- 
chanical adjustments of the camera itself. So that these ad- 
justments may be determined and made, according to a con- 
venient system, not only has the design of lenses and lens 
diaphragms been standardized, but, also, a uniform method of 
light measurement has been devised, to facilitate an accurate 



statement of the exposure, requisite for a particular scene. 

Although the failure to give a scene its correct exposure is 
all too common and although some deviation from the ideal 
may even be tolerated, we must never forget that good movies 
call for perfect exposure. 

Footage that is recorded when an insufficient amount of 
light has reached the film is said to be underexposed, because 
more exposure should have been given, to affect the film to its 
most efficient rendition. An underexposed picture is usually 
dark and is devoid of detail, when it is projected on the screen. 
The scene appears to have been dimly lighted, and, from a 
practical viewpoint, this is exactly what happened. (See the 
illustration on page 28.) 

If too much light is allowed to reach the film, a condition 
known as overexposure results. This produces a picture that is 
also without detail, but, in this case, the image is usually pale 
and light, instead of being dark, as in underexposure. (See the 
illustration on page 28.) 

Severe overexposure produces a length of film that is almost 
transparent, while the same degree of underexposure will 
make it dense and practically opaque. In both instances, de- 
tails are missing, and the result is obviously unsatisfactory. 

Since it is necessary to control the amount of light by which 
the image is recorded on the film, a mechanical device for in- 
creasing or reducing the opening through which light passes is 
needed. This opening must be related to the lens which col- 
lects and directs the "stream" of light that is reflected from 
the subject. 

Footage showing action on the screen, that occurs at the 
same speed as that of actual life, is generally filmed, in silent 
movies, with the shutter of the camera revolving sixteen times 
a second. This rate of revolution, with its consequent exposure 
of sixteen movie frames in each second, is known as normal 
camera speed. Because the great majority of the situations 
that are recorded in movie making are those in which action, 


on the screen, should be neither faster nor slower than that of 
actual life, some movie cameras can be operated only at nor- 
mal camera speed. Therefore, in these instruments, the time 
of exposure for each frame is constant. 

Other movie cameras offer the facility of controlling the 
time of exposure, either by making it possible to change the 
size of the shutter opening or, as is done in most instances, by 
providing changes, at will, in the speed of revolution of the 
shutter. If the time of exposure is modified by the speed of 
revolution of the shutter, the action, as it is observed on the 
screen, when the projector is operated at a rate of sixteen 
frames a second, will appear to be slower or faster than that of 
actual life. 

Diaphragms and apertures 

Because of the fact that most movie cameras can film ac- 
tion, at rates, different from normal camera speed, only by the 
sacrifice of the natural appearance of this action on the screen, 
we must, in the majority of cases, control light in movie mak- 
ing by changing the diaphragm, or aperture, of the lens. 

The diaphragm is a mechanism in the lens, by which the 
stream of light may be increased or diminished, much as a 
valve controls the volume of a stream of water. In mechanical 
principle, the diaphragm is not unlike a valve, for, by moving 
a control ring or lever, we are able to change the size of the 
opening through which light passes. 

Since any type of film is designed always to have the same 
speed, or sensitivity to light, and since exposure changes are 
accomplished by increasing or diminishing the light that is 
admitted through the lens, some universal system for measur- 
ing those changes on the valve, or diaphragm, is an almost 
imperative convenience. This is provided by the calibration of 
the lens's control lever or ring into divisions, known as "stops" 
or "stop numbers," which are definite units of measurement of 
the amount of light that passes through a lens. These units 



are standard and are generally accepted, just as are gallons, 
pounds or feet. 

The letter "f is used to identify stop numbers, and most 
lenses employ a system of marking stops in which the letter 
"/" is used with a number, as, for example, //16. The stop 
//1 6, to use it as an illustration, would always admit the same 
amount of light, regardless of the size of the lens on which it 
was calibrated, and //16 on the small lens of a movie camera 
means the same thing that it does on that of a giant, studio 
still camera that is used with film, eleven by fourteen inches in 
size. The "/" system has been accepted as a universal method 
of calibrating lenses. 

The most usual method of marking lenses spaces the 
calibration divisions, so that each indicates approximately a 
one hundred percent increase in light, as the diaphragm is 
opened from one / number to the next. A typical set of stop 
numbers which would result, for all practical purposes, in a 
one hundred percent increase, or in doubling the amount of 
light, as the diaphragm was opened from one stop to the next, 



would be as follows: //16, f/11, //8, //5.6, f/4, //2.8, f/1.9. A 
very important peculiarity of this traditional method of ex- 
pressing stop numbers is found in the fact that the largest 
number indicates the smallest diaphragm opening, and vice 
versa. (See the illustration on the preceding page.) 

While this system is widely followed, there sometimes will 
appear certain deviations from the regular progression of the 
one hundred percent increase in stop numbers. Such an ex- 
ample is found in the popular lens whose largest aperture, 
//3.5, falls between the familiar //4 and //2.8. For purposes 
of exposure calculation, this stop is commonly said to be half 
way between the other two. Further figures, which do not 
match the set that we have used as an example, would be //2.7 
(for practical purposes the same as //2.8) , //4.5 (very close 
to //4) , //1. 5 (about a half stop faster than //1. 9) and others 
whose proximity to the stops that have been listed will be 
obvious to any camera user. 

Lenses are generally identified, as to their speed, by the 
stop number that indicates their largest diaphragm opening. 
Thus, f/1.9 is the largest diaphragm opening of the fast, f/1.9 
lens, while f/3.5 is the largest diaphragm opening of the f/3.5 

Although the best results are produced by accurate expo- 
sure, black and white movie films permit much latitude, and 
one may make an error of as much as two stops, from the ideal 
exposure, in setting the diaphragm, without producing a result 
that may be regarded as a failure. 

Nevertheless, we should seek the exact amount of exposure 
in every instance. When one is working with color, it is doubly 
important to make sure that the amount of light which is ad- 
mitted through the lens is correct, for color film does not per- 
mit so much exposure latitude as does black and white film. 
An error of one stop will make a real difference in the rendi- 
tion of color values. Underexposed shots are dark, and their 
colors are muddy, while, in overexposed color shots, colors are 


pale and thin. The right exposure, only, gives the real color 

Determining exposure 

Deciding upon the correct exposure and setting the lens 
diaphragm accordingly is a task that the movie maker must 
perform for every scene he records. However, there are many 
aids to simplify the process. 

First, there is the exposure chart or calculator, that is found 
on certain cameras. In some cases, this is a plate on which are 
described basic conditions of weather or light, such as "aver- 
age scenes in direct sunlight" or "subjects in deep shade." The 
diaphragm actuating lever may be placed so that it points to 
one of these notations and, at the same time, to the proper 
stop number for this condition, so that one may adjust expo- 
sure without reference to / numbers, if he desires. 

Another type of calculator is slightly more comprehensive 
and complicated, for it may take into account different periods 
of the year, types of film and various camera speeds. What- 
ever the calculator on your camera may be, you can be sure 
that it presents a dependable method of exposure estimation 
and that it will serve you well, once you have learned to rec- 
ognize its concise descriptions of light conditions. 

One also may buy simple and inexpensive detached calcu- 
lators which operate in much the same manner as do those 
that are placed on cameras. Often, these devices include a 
wider range of variables than we find on calculators that are 
installed on cameras, for there is more room to expand the 
descriptions of light conditions and to note exceptions to the 
basic rules. The more elaborate of these may have sliding dials 
or scales, which enable one to arrive at a lens setting, by cor- 
relating, swiftly and easily, the various facts observed by the 

Exposure may be determined by estimation. We look at the 
scene and set the diaphragm by judgments that are reached 


from our previous experience. The movie maker who has taken 
pictures for some time, and who has kept accurate records of 
exposure for typical light conditions, can get excellent results 
by this method. This procedure is impractical for a person 
who is just embarking on his movie making career. 

Exposure meters 

The method of arriving at correct exposure which requires 
the least individual judgment is that which involves the use 
of an "exposure meter," a device designed to measure the 
amount of light that is reflected to the lens from the desired 
scene and to determine for you the proper diaphragm setting. 
The accuracy with which meters will reveal the correct ex- 
posure depends, to a large extent, upon the skill of the user. 
To operate a meter, it is necessary to know the speed, or sen- 
sitivity, of the film to be used. Most meters may be adjusted 
for different sensitivities; the adjustment is made from data 
supplied by the manufacturer of the instrument. 

The simplest meter is of the extinction type, which depends 
for its functioning upon the comparison of a fixed scale of 
numbers or other markings with another scale of numbers or 
gradations that change with the amount of light that affects 
the mechanism. A specific example is offered by a meter which 
is held to the eye, while a part of the device is rotated until 
one of several numbers is barely visible. This barely visible 
number is then set on a chart, by means of which the recom- 
mended stop number is found. While such meters are gener- 
ally satisfactory, they depend upon the human element to a 
marked degree. 

Persons with not entirely normal eyesight might get read- 
ings that differ from the correct standard for a given light 
condition. Reading an extinction meter is influenced by the 
involuntary adjustments of the eye to bright or dim light. 

When the use of the photoelectric cell became widespread, it 
suggested itself as an ideal instrument for measuring light, 


since photoelectric cells have the property of generating 
minute amounts of electricity when they are affected by light, 
more current being generated by greater illumination. 

These cells were harnessed in meters which indicated ac- 
curately the amount of light that affected the meter itself. It 
was but a step, then, to transpose these readings into stop 
numbers and thus to produce a thoroughly workable exposure 
meter for cinematographic use. Fitted with dials and film 
speed indications, these meters are today immensely popular, 
for they enable anybody to solve the exposure problem with- 
out skill or technical ability. 

The standard type of photoelectric exposure meter indicates 
the amount of light that is reflected from the prospective 
movie scene. However, its reading represents the average 
amount of light that is reflected from the whole scene, which 
may be composed of very dark subjects, reflecting little light, 
and very brilliant subjects, reflecting much. 

The exposure should be adjusted for the important subject 
in the scene, and, therefore, it is often necessary to hold the 
meter close to that subject, to register the light that it alone 
reflects, without consideration of the amount of light that 
may be reflected by adjacent objects. 

Another factor is the possibility that the exposure meter 
may cover a wider area than that which is covered by the cam- 
era's lens. For this reason, too, it may be necessary to step 
closer to the subject, in taking the reading, or to tilt the meter 

For example, a prospective scene might include a dark 
meadow in its lower half and a brilliant sky in its upper half. 
The subject of interest is in the lower half of the picture; so 
we should tilt the meter slightly downward, to exclude a large 
part of the sky from its field. Otherwise, the brilliant light 
from the sky would increase the meter reading, so that a small 
diaphragm opening would be indicated, and this, in turn, 
would mean that the meadow in the picture would be under- 


The proper technique of taking a reading under such condi- 
tions would be to tilt the meter downward gradually until 
the sky was excluded sufficiently, to cause the needle on the 
meter's dial to drop sharply. The reading that was taken just 
after the needle had dropped would be correct. 

If the scene were light, such as a bright expanse of snow or 
water, and if no dark details were desired, it might be satis- 
factory to take the average reading of the entire scene from a 
normal meter position. 

On the other hand, if one were filming at the beach and if 
the scene happened to be a close shot of a girl wearing a large 
hat and a white dress, it would be important to hold the meter 
within a few inches of the girl's face, to get an exposure reading 
on it alone, for her countenance would be in a shadow, while 
the rest of the scene would be brilliantly illuminated. If the 
meter reading for this scene were taken from the camera's lo- 
cation, the bright sky, the white sand and the white dress 
would tend to produce a high reading, which would indicate a 
small diaphragm opening; this would result in underexposure 
for the flesh tones, which are darker in color and which are 
also in the shadow of the hat. 

The following illustrations show how these and similar prin- 
ciples of meter use are easily applied, in getting an accurate 
exposure reading for the important part of the subject. 

Setting the film speed dial correctly is highly important in 
the operation of any exposure meter. Before you take a read- 
ing, be sure that you know just how to adjust this dial for the 
film that you will use. Do not rely on speed ratings that come 
from any source other than the manufacturer of the meter or 
the Amateur Cinema League, for not all systems of film speed 
rating are standardized. Manufacturers of meters are glad to 
give you this information; it may also be secured from the 
League at any time. 

Once you have learned to use a meter, following its manu- 
facturer's instructions, rely on it constantly. You will know its 



Sunlight falling on the face of the meter will 
cause a false reading. 

For landscape shots, tilt the meter, so that most 
of the sky will be excluded. 






If the camera is in the sun and the subject in 

shadow, go close enough to get a reading in the 

dark area. 

The overhead sun gives strong shadows. Hold 

the meter close to the subject's face, for a 

usable reading. 


The sign is the important thing; go close, to 
eliminate the dark area surrounding it. 

A reading on the adjacent rock will indicate the 
exposure for the more distant, similar subject. 


advantages and limitations, and, as a result, you will improve 
your method of taking readings, so that the meter will be- 
come a highly accurate and easy guide, for use in exposure de- 

Since color film has less latitude than black and white 
emulsions, one must be more careful, in taking readings for use 
with it, than in taking those, to be used with monochromatic 
films. While exposure meter technique for Kodachrome does 
not differ from that for black and white film, it must be fol- 
lowed more carefully. 

If one judges exposure for color film by observation of the 
light on the scene, he must be careful to take into considera- 
tion the direction of light, the time of day and other factors, 
explained by the film's manufacturer in the leaflet that is 
supplied with each roll. This leaflet gives exposure directions 
for typical lighting conditions, which may be memorized 
easily, if one does not care to use a meter. 

An exposure difference of half a stop does not have an ap- 
preciable effect on the average black and white scene, but it 
may make a noticeable difference in the shades of color in a 
full color view. Hence, many of the tables and charts pre- 
pared for guidance in color film exposure have variations of 
half stops. Although there may be no markings on the lens 
between stop numbers, one may still set the diaphragm for 
this half way position. 

One of the handicaps of a new movie maker is the great 
amount of well meaning advice about exposure that may be 
given to him by acquaintances. On his trip to the tropics, he 
will be bombarded on every hand by "tips" from "old timers" 
to the effect that the light is "tricky." 

Actually, he has no need to change his exposure estimation 
method when he goes to the tropics. He will find light condi- 
tions there, much like those to be encountered on his own 
bathing beach in summertime. Advice to "use filters because 
pf the glaring light" would apply equally, if one were to film 


on the sands of almost any shore. The best advice about 
exposure for the visitor to the tropics is to take none from 
photographers or from inexperienced movie makers. 

Another handicap is found in the person who believes that 
an exposure meter manufacturer errs in advising a certain 
speed for a particular film. Such an individual may have had 
an isolated experience which indicates that the speed that is 
given by the manufacturer does not work well with his par- 
ticular equipment, but such experiences, even if they happen, 
by chance, to represent facts in a certain case, do not apply 
to others. Always use the speed that is given by the manu- 
facturer of the meter, unless yours happens to be one of the 
very rare cases in which fair and careful tests prove that it 
is not correct for you. In that circumstance, of course, you 
will change the rating, to fit your needs. In a few instances, 
changes are desirable, but they never should be made on 
the advice of others whose equipment and technique may 
differ from yours. 

Exposure estimation is not so difficult as one might think. 
Half the battle lies in learning to recognize correct exposure 
when you see it. A ready knowledge of this may be gained 
by looking at good photographs that are reproduced in the 
better magazines and books. Note that these have no glaring 
washed out parts and no dark, muddy areas. The overall tone 
is a pleasant compromise between black and white. 

One of the best ways to improve your ability to judge light 
is to keep records of the conditions under which you expose 
your film and to consult these records when you first project 
your processed rolls. In a -short time, you will build up an 
instinct for exposure and will know, at a glance, whether a 
scene could have been improved. 

If you employ the calculator system of exposure estimation, 
it is important to learn to classify light conditions into the 
categories that are listed on the device. These are well defined 
and are easily recognized. 



Everybody who has used an opera glass or field glass knows 
what is meant, in general, by the term "focus." With the 
opera glass, the image is formed in the eye, while, with the 
camera, it is formed on the film's surface. Just as field and 
opera glasses must be adjusted, to get sharp images of subjects, 
far and near, so must the camera lens be regulated, if we are 
to secure clear and sharp pictures. 

Some lenses, those of the "fixed focus" type, are preset 
during manufacture in such a way that they will render sharp 
images over a reasonable range of distances without requiring 
a special adjustment for each scene that is recorded. These 
fixed focus lenses are generally of the slower variety the type 
which does not pass a great amount of light, as compared to 
the fast lens which passes a large quantity of light. 

Since the focus of a lens of this type must be a compromise, 
in order to cover a useful range, it follows that such a lens 
must have some limitations. One of these is its slower speed 
and the other is the fact that with it, alone, you cannot get 
a sharp picture of subjects that are within six feet of the 
camera. For pictures made at distances closer than six feet, 
one requires a "portrait attachment," a special lens to be 
placed over the camera lens itself. 

The chief advantage of the fixed focus lens is that, in 
using it, one need not pay attention to the exact distance 
from camera to subject, if this is greater than six feet. 
In recording subjects that are constantly moving, it is helpful 
to be able to film them without stopping the camera, to set 
the lens for a sudden change of distance. 

In contrast to the fixed focus lens, we have the focusing type, 
which requires the same adjustment as does the opera glass. It 
differs from the lens of the opera glass, because the focus of 
the movie lens is secured by the adjustment of a calibrated 
ring, while the opera glass is focused only by visual inspec- 
tion. This calibrated ring is marked with a convenient range 


of distances that are stated in either feet or meters, depending 
upon the system that is in use where the lens is sold. Markings 
generally start at two feet and continue, by steps, up to fifty 
feet. After this, we find "Infinity," in most cases, which 
setting is correct for all distances of more than fifty feet 
from the camera. Telephoto lenses may have calibrations 
which reach one hundred feet or more, before the Infinity 
mark is reached. 

It is not difficult to guess the distance from camera to 
subject with sufficient accuracy that we may set the focus, to 
produce a sharp picture. The leeway in range, within which 
one can get a sharp picture, is generous, especially if we use 
small diaphragm openings (//5.6 to //1 6) and if our subjects 
are more than ten feet from the camera. Accurate distance de- 
termination is important at the closer ranges and* particularly, 
if the lens is opened to apertures from f/3.5 to //1. 4. A tape 
measure is a valuable aid in measuring distances for close 

Range finders or distance meters are convenient accessories 
that are used for determining focus, because they give an 
accurate indication of the distance from camera to subject and 
because they are easy to use. 

Where to set the focus for pictures of action in which the 
subject approaches the camera from a considerable distance 
may puzzle the novice. The best rule for shots like this is 
to set the lens for one third of the distance from the nearest 
limit of the range of action to the farthest. Thus, if the subject 
that is moving toward the camera were to be filmed, first, 
about fifty feet away and were to approach to twenty feet, 
the lens should be set at thirty feet. Sharpness would then 
be satisfactory throughout the range of the subject's movement. 

If one is filming a stationary subject, such as a grove of 
trees, with extensive range in depth, the same procedure 
could be followed, and the whole scene would be in satisfactory 


As with exposure, there is a reasonable and helpful leeway 
in focusing. This comes from what is called "depth of field." 
This phrase describes the area extending in front of the lens, 
within which objects will be recorded in the picture clearly 
and sharply, if they are filmed at a given diaphragm opening 
and a specific focus setting. For example, when the lens is set 
for ten feet at a certain / number, we find that objects that 
are nearer than ten feet and farther than ten feet are 
yet in satisfactory focus. The distance from the near limit 
of this range of sharp focus to its far limit is the depth of field. 

Two factors control this distance. One is the size of the 
stop, or diaphragm opening, and the other is the distance 
at which the lens is set. The larger the lens opening and the 
shorter the distance, the shallower is the depth. The illustra- 
tion on page 62 clarifies this point. The depth of field varies 
with the focal length (a term that is discussed in Chapter XV) 
of the lens and it is not the same for all lenses of equivalent 

Scene lengths 

The question, How long should a scene be? need not 
puzzle any movie maker. An average scene runs about ten 
seconds, which means four feet of 16mm. film or two feet of 
8mm. film. Shots of important action may require much more 
footage enough to show the completion of the action while 
other scenes, that will convey a single idea, may require much 
less for example, a shot of a route number sign along the 
highway. When you are in doubt, take plenty of footage. 

The footage meter on your camera may be used to de- 
termine how long the scene is running, if the camera is placed 
on a tripod, but, if the camera is held to the eye, you may not 
be able to see it. In that case, one may count slowly: "One 
thousand and one," etc., each number representing one second 
of screen time. Counting in this way, slowly, to ten would 
give you about four feet of 16mm., or two feet of 8mm., film. 


Keep the camera running continuously until the desired 
footage has been recorded. Guard against starting and stop- 
ping the mechanism while you are filming the scene, for such 
interruptions in the action result in unpleasant breaks in the 
picture. They are akin to closing the eyes, while we are 
watching some particular action, and opening them an instant 

Camera movement 

The beginning movie maker may be puzzled by the number 
of times that he will encounter the advice, "Hold the camera 
steady!" But once he has seen the jiggly and scarcely recog- 
nizable pictures that are produced by an unsteady camera, 
he will realize the importance of this basic rule. 

If you are to hold the camera in your hands, take a com- 
fortable position, keep the camera as motionless as possible 
and press the button. Don't move the camera while it is 
running. Then you will see a steady picture on the screen, 
instead of a dizzy whirl of unrecognizable subjects. The au- 
dience can concentrate on the subject matter, not on the 
dancing scene. 

In shooting scenic and distant views, you may be tempted 
to swing the camera horizontally from one side to the other; 
in the resultant action, on the screen, the scene will rush past 
like the telephone poles that are seen from the windows of 
a speeding train. 

Pivoting the camera horizontally in this manner is called 
"panning"; this is a practice to be avoided, as you would avoid 
an underexposed or out of focus shot. It can be acceptable, 
if you "pan" exceedingly slowly and very smoothly, but more 
film is used than would be employed, if you filmed a number 
of separate, steady scenes. These would also be much more 
attractive on the screen. 

The utility of the panorama is chiefly apparent in following 
moving objects. In doing this, one must center the subject 


to be followed, in the viewfinder, and must keep it centered 
there. Of course, the background rushes past, but the atten- 
tion of the audience is fixed on the moving subject. This 
technique, requiring considerable adroitness, may be seen in 
theatrical newsreel shots in which the camera follows a horse 
on the race track or a football player making a long run. 

Swinging the camera vertically is called "tilting," and a slow, 
steady tilt in one direction, either upward or downward, is 
less objectionable than a panorama, if the camera is held 
stationary for a few seconds at the beginning and at the end 
of the tilt. For example, one might tilt, from the brink, down 
a waterfall to a view of the churning water at the base. In 
tilting, one should always reach the top, as of a church spire, 
or the bottom, as of a canyon, to satisfy the natural curiosity 
of the audience. 

Camera speeds 

While film passes through movie cameras, usually, at the 
rate of sixteen frames a second, some of them are so de- 
signed that this speed may be altered for special reasons. 
Running the camera more slowly than is normal gives us 
action, on the screen, which is faster than that of the subject. 
The commonly used slow speed is a rate of eight frames a 
second, or half the normal camera speed. When shots that 
are made at this speed are screened at the regular projection 
rate of sixteen frames a second, the action is just twice as 
fast as that of the subject. Similarly, camera speeds, greater 
than the normal, will retard the motion on the screen, as com- 
pared with the real action. The usual range of camera speeds 
comprises eight, sixteen, twenty four, thirty two and sixty 
four frames a second. 

Slow motion, which is produced by a higher camera speed, 
is useful in making shots that enable us to examine action 
which, in actual life, occurs so rapidly that one cannot analyze 
it. Slow motion lets you study your golf stroke, to detect pos- 


sible defects; it permits coaches to study details of form in 

By means of slow motion, one may extend on the screen 
the duration of action that takes place in a very short space 
of time. The diver, filmed at usual speed, is just a flash on the 
screen, but, when he is filmed in slow motion, the audience 
can see the grace of the dive. Filmed at normal speed, a bird 
might dart on and off the screen so rapidly that the audience 
could scarcely observe it, but slow motion would increase the 
length of the shot and enable us to see the bird clearly. 

Slow motion also has the capacity of "smoothing out" the 
effect of camera unsteadiness that might be encountered, for 
example, in a scene that is recorded by a camera held in the 
hand on a moving vehicle, for the reason that, just as slow 
motion retards, on the screen, the action of the subject, so it 
also retards the movement of the camera, giving its sudden 
shifts of position less effect in the projected picture. A further 
interesting use of slow motion is to impart an effect of 
weightiness or ponderability to models in miniature shots. 
Other uses of slow motion will be discussed in later chapters. 

Half speed, or eight frames a second, has a more limited 
range of usefulness. Its chief function is to provide greater 
exposure time for each frame, by increasing the period in which 
the shutter remains open. This increased period is especially 
valuable with poor illumination, for it allows twice as much 
light to affect a frame of film as would reach it at normal 
camera speed. Half speed is most helpful when the subject 
is relatively static, for, of course, doubling the rate of motion 
might prove unattractive in some cases. In fact, hah* speed is 
sometimes used for a comic effect. 

While a camera speed that is less than normal increases 
the amount of light that is admitted to each frame of film 
during exposure, a camera speed that is higher than normal 
decreases the amount of this light. If the camera is running 
at thirty two frames a second, just half as much light is ad- 


milled lo each frame as would reach it, if the camera were 
operated at sixteen frames a second. 

Hence, to compensate for this decrease in light, we must 
open the lens diaphragm by one slop, which doubles ihe 
amount of light admitled. Similarly, if the camera is 
operated at sixty four frames a second, just half as much light 
is admitled lo each frame as would reach it, were the camera 
running al Ihirty Iwo frames a second, and so, lo compensate, 
we musl open Ihe diaphragm by yel anolher slop, making a 
lolal of Iwo stops over Ihe normal exposure for Ihe scene. 

Adjuslmenl of exposure lo compensale for change of camera 
speed may be reduced lo a simple lable: 

8 frames a second one slop less lhan normal exposure 
16 " " normal exposure 

32 " one slop more lhan normal exposure 

64 " " two stops more than normal exposure 

For a camera speed of twenly four frames a second (used 
principally for "sound on film" movies, lhal will be explained 
in a laler chapler), Ihe lens is opened one half slop over Ihe 
normal exposure. 

Light and shadow 

Lighl makes Ihe piclure, for il is lighl lhal affecls Ihe emul- 
sion of Ihe film and produces Ihe image. Lighl also makes 
Ihe piclure in anolher sense, because il is Ihe high lighls and 
Ihe shadows lhal add deplh and inleresl and lhal give lo 
objecls in Ihe scene an effecl of roundness and modeling. 

How Ihese imporlanl high lighls and shadows are formed 
in a piclure depends upon Ihe direclion of lighl; lo gel Ihe 
besl movie shols, we musl conlrol Ihe angle al which lighl 
falls on Ihe scene. 

In ouldoor filming, we cannol shifl Ihe sun, bill we can 
conlrol Ihe camera viewpoinl in relalion lo sunlighl, which 
gives us almosl as much freedom as if we could change Ihe 
direclion of Ihe sun's rays al will. So, when we selecl a camera 


viewpoint, we consider not only the subject matter, but also 
the direction of the sunlight that falls on the scene. 

Light may reach a given scene from an infinite number of 
angles, but, for the purposes of movie making, the relationship 
between the subject, the camera and the direction of light 
can be divided into four main classifications. 

Of these, the first is "flat lighting," in which the illumination 
comes from the rear of the camera and falls flat on the front 
of the subject. This produces the minimum effect of high light 
and shadow, for, as they are seen from the camera's point of 
view, all the contours of the subject are evenly illuminated. 
Features do not stand out, because there are no shadows to 
emphasize them. 

But suppose that we shift the camera, so that the sunlight 
strikes the scene from one side. Then we have what is called 
"side lighting," and, from the camera's viewpoint, the light will 
cast shadows one side of the subject will be high lighted and 
the other will be in shadow which will give to the scene an 
effect of depth and brilliancy. 

The more directly the light comes from one side, the 
stronger this effect will be. In fact, one side of the subject 
may be too brightly illuminated and the other side may be 
in too dark a shadow. This condition can be corrected by the 
use of a reflector, to throw additional illumination on the 
shadow side of the picture. 

However, the average movie maker corrects the difficulty 
by moving slightly to one side or the other, to get the light 
at an angle of about forty five degrees, in relation to the axis 
of his lens. Hence, sunlight will fall from one side and slightly 
to the rear of the movie maker, as he faces the scene. This 
type of lighting is the standard for movie shots; it is always 
easy to find, except in late afternoon or early morning. 

When the sun is directly behind the subject, the effect is 
called "back lighting," a beautiful and dramatic type of 
illumination that must be handled with caution. The shadow 


side of the subject is toward the camera, and, if exposure is 
adjusted for the illumination around it, the subject itself will 
be silhouetted. This lighting may give an attractive result, 
as in the scene of a grove of trees silhouetted against the late 
afternoon sun. 

If details are to be seen, the lens must be opened for the 
proper exposure of that side of the subject which faces toward 
the camera. Then, the subject seems to be surrounded by a 
halo of light a charming result in some cases. The classic 
instance is a close shot of a girl, filmed with the sun behind 
her head, so that the light "catches" in her hair, giving it a 
luminous quality. 

In all back lighting, one must be exceedingly careful, lest 
the direct rays of the sun strike the lens and produce lens 
flare, the result of internal reflections within the lens ele- 
ments. One must shade the lens from these direct rays. This 
shading may be accomplished by the subject, which may cast 
a shadow over the lens, but usually it is necessary to protect 
the lens itself, by holding something above it. Of course, one 
must not obstruct the view of the lens and, thus, cut off a 
corner of the picture. 

When the sun is directly overhead, the scene is said to 
have "top light." The results that are obtained by this form 
of lighting are, almost without exception, unpleasant; hence 
the midday period, when the sun is almost directly overhead, 
is not a good time for movie making. Unpleasant downward 
shadows are cast on faces, and landscape views are un- 

When the sun is overhead, scenes of a person who wears 
a wide brimmed hat will be particularly unfortunate, for deep 
shadows under the hat will obscure the face. If exposure is 
increased to give proper detail in this heavy shadow area, 
other parts of the scene may be greatly overexposed. 

Flat lighting, which produces an unattractive scene in black 
and white movies, is ideal for shots that are made with color 


IN Focus 


R. I. Nesmith and Associates 

A focusing lens set for closeups would give the unpleasant effect 
shown in the bottom picture. 

The size of the diaphragm opening affects the range within which 
subjects will be sharp in the picture. Above, a camera equipped 
with a normal lens is focused on the golf tee. The parentheses 
illustrate the range of sharpness at various stops. One can see 
how much larger this range is when the diaphragm opening is 


Mrs. Warner Seely, ACL 

If a bird nests near your home. 
you have material for an out- 
standing film. (16mm. frame 

Donald A. Buchan, ACL 
In years to come, you will ap- 
preciate fully a movie record of 
your children. (8mm. frame 


film. This is true, because, in color pictures, the effect of 
modeling and plasticity is produced by the variation of the 
colors themselves, and not necessarily by light and shadow. 
Also, flat lighting illuminates all parts of the subject evenly; 
therefore, all colors are reproduced with similar intensity. If 
the exposure is correct, every color will be equally brilliant 
on the screen. 

Make a practice of watching the direction of light; note 
how shadows fall, in relation to your camera position, and 
soon you will judge lighting for movie scenes as automatically 
as you estimate the interest of the subject matter. Further- 
more, you will find that you begin really to see the full beauty 
of things about you. 

Almost any picture is better, if it is made on a clear, bright 
day. When the sun is veiled by clouds, one can see at a glance 
that the landscape is flat and uninteresting. Scenes do not 
appear to have the life and brilliance that they achieve on a 
sunny, clear day. This is a fact, because, in effect, the lighting 
is flat and even, and there are no high lights and deep shadows 
to give interest to the scene. The camera records what the eye 
sees, and movie shots made on a dull day will lack the sharp 
contrast of scenes that are filmed when skies are clear. 

Selecting views 

You can make more attractive movies if you choose pleas- 
ing backgrounds for your shots. Shifting the camera's direction 
slightly upward, downward or to one side may mean the 
difference between a well composed and a commonplace view. 
When you look through the finder, to center the action, also 
note whether the background adds to the beauty of the scene 
or detracts from it. 

A telephone pole, directly behind a person, will appear, in 
the two dimensional picture on the screen, to be growing out 
of his head. The horizon that neatly bisects your view and 
the trunk of a tree that cuts the scene vertically, through the 
center, will create an unpleasant shot, while a slight change 


in camera angle will avoid these difficulties. By comparing 
various possible viewpoints, when you hold the camera to 
your eye, you can select the best. 

A useful device is the inclusion of some object at one side 
of the foreground of the picture. It may be a tree, a boulder, 
the corner of a fence or a person; whatever it is, it will give to 
your movie scene the illusion of depth the feeling that there 
is one plane behind another in the picture. 

Movie makers often frame scenic shots with a foreground 
of tree leaves, and, when no tree is growing in the desired 
spot, they may ask a friend, who should stand outside the 
lens field, to hold a branch above the camera, so that 
leaves will fall within the scene area, to provide a natural 
foreground for the top of the picture. 

Arches, corners of buildings, the hood of an automobile 
or the opening of a tent may help you to frame a scene or to 
provide a foreground. 

When there is action in the foreground, the middle ground 
and the background of a picture, at the same time, the scene 
will have a considerable effect of depth. 

If, in filming a ferry moving from a slip, you include a 
portion of the pier in the foreground, the relationship between 
the stationary object near the camera and the moving object 
farther away will give an illusion of the third dimension on 
the screen. If another vessel is moving in a different direction 
in the background, this illusion of depth will be astonishing. 

Be sure to avoid camera positions in which an adjacent, 
rapidly moving body will cross the scene at right angles to the 
lens. The effect produced by this action is very much like that 
of the panorama the scene dithers, as if one were trying to 
look through a picket fence while he walked rapidly beside it. 

Important things to remember 

There is a generous leeway in exposure with black and white 
film, but this is smaller with color. 

Exposure meters are always helpful, but one may secure 


very satisfactory results with the calculator or table method 
of estimation. 

You do not need to make a change in your exposure tech- 
nique if you are in the tropics. 

If you use a fixed focus lens and if you film subjects within 
six feet of the camera, you must employ a portrait attachment. 

Focusing lenses do not present a difficult problem, since 
the depth of field is nearly always great enough, to cover aver- 
age errors in judging distance. 

A steady camera is one of the most important aids, in secur- 
ing good pictures. 

When you are filming at hah* speed, caution subjects to 
move slowly. 

Flat lighting generally gives truest color results but pro- 
duces the poorest black and white pictures. 

Forty five degree side lighting is a good standard for black 
and white scenes. 

The best black and white and the best color shots are made 
in bright, clear sunlight. 

An unpleasant background can spoil an otherwise good 

Never let a subject move at right angles to the lens, unless 
the camera is moved, to follow it. 


IN Chapter II of this book, we considered the fundamen- 
tal characteristics of good filming which make up a 
genuine movie. We met the simple but inescapable fact 
that a good movie must "be about something." It must, in 
other words, have a theme, or something to say. Without this 
core of an idea, even the best exposed footage is meaningless 
and incoherent. 

We found that this characteristic of theme or coherence 
might be evolved from the simplest of situations Baby hav- 
ing a bath, Sister shelling peas or Brother washing the car. 

But how do we discover such a central theme and how can 
we develop it, once it is in hand? 

An answer to the first query is to look for your theme in 
whatever interests you. This simple guide leads us to film the 
family. To say that the baby "interests" us is to put it mildly, 
but it does explain why there is more family filming than all 
other kinds combined. 

But other people, other places and activities win our inter- 
est as well. A day at the beach, the mystery and beauty of the 
woods, clouds and water, or a brisk golf game these things 
and countless others make up our life. Any one of them, or a 
part of any one, is the subject for a movie. 

It is easy to choose the movie's subject, but the develop- 
ment of the theme as a movie continuity is more difficult. 
Subjects are plentiful and their essential high points are ob- 


vious, but, when they are recorded, they may fail to make a 
good film that has a clear continuity. 

One reason for this fact is that the movie maker may fail to 
realize that every interesting theme should have a beginning, 
or introduction, and a conclusion, or ending, as well as the 
central idea itself. Secondly, he may fail to see that each part 
of the picture its beginning, middle or end must be devel- 
oped by a number of groups of scenes that are called se- 
quences. Here is a fundamental characteristic of the motion 

The theme 

To assure a satisfying treatment of one's central theme, the 
first and most important step is to examine carefully the 
theme itself. Why do we wish to film it? What are the high 
lights that attract our interest? What relationship have they 
to events that precede and follow them? And what signifi- 
cance has the event or object for us and for others? These are 
the questions that we should ask ourselves. The answers will 
provide suggestions for a suitable beginning and for a satis- 
fying end of the movie. 

Suppose that we wish to film a parade on Memorial Day. 
We might simply run a roll of film through the camera, taking 
shots of the parade here and there, as opportunity offered. But 
the result would not be interesting. We should not have made 
a genuine motion picture. For although it is of a parade, it is 
not about it! Such a film would have little more to say on its 
chosen subject than would a good selection of still pictures. 
Let us ask ourselves some of the questions that we have noted 
and, then, see what happens. 

Number 1: Why do we wish to film a Memorial Day pa- 
rade f An honest answer might well be: We wish to film it 
because Tom and Mary Anne (along with a hundred or more 
other children) are going to decorate their bicycles and ride 
in the line of march. Fine! At once, this suggests filming more 
than just the parade itself. Here, opened by our first simple 


question, is a whole new aspect of the matter, and one that is 
well worth a little thought. We note "Plan to get scenes of 
the youngsters before (and maybe after) the parade." 

Number 2: What are the high lights which attract our in- 
terest? Well . . . plenty of them, it seems. Harold, an older 
brother who lives down the street and was "across" in 1917, 
is going to march with the American Legion band. Mother 
will be Compassion, or something, on the Red Cross float, and 
we know a lot of the boys in the Fire Department. Besides, 
it's a swell show and . . . Besides, nothing! These three answers 
already indicate new opportunities. We note, again "Try for 
'takes' of the band rehearsing, of Mother working on the float 
and of the boys shining the new engine." 

Number 3: What relationship have they (the high lights) 
to events which precede and follow them? Oh, well, it looks as 
if we had already gone into that. But it does show that we 
were on the right track in our plans to shoot something of the 
preparations for the parade, instead of just the parade itself. 
Next question! 

Number 4: What significance has the event for tis and for 
others? And here our query does not mean simply interest 
(the family and friends) or appeal (bright flags, colorful floats 
and pleasing movement). It refers, more fundamentally, to 
that background of meaning, inherent in the occasion, which 
gives it emotional importance. What is Memorial Day? Why 
is it celebrated? A quick look at the encyclopedia fortifies our 
own hazy ideas on the subject: Memorial Day, it says, May 
30th in the North, a day set aside since 1868 in honor of those 
who fell in the Civil War. Since 1918, enlarged in scope to pay 
honor to all of America's war dead. 

Here, of course, is just what we are looking for as "signifi- 
cance," and here, as well, is the real source of a beginning and 
an end for our parade pictures. 

In general, now, we begin to see our film plan shaping into 
something like this: (1) announce the subject (Memorial 


Day) and suggest quickly its significance; (2) indicate briefly, 
as a bait to the audience for what is to come, how the occasion 
is observed; (3) build up interest in this observance, by show- 
ing widespread preparations for it; (4) present the central 
event itself, as effectively as possible; (5) sum up or conclude 
briefly, by tying this specific event once more to its general 

Here, in essence, is a fundamental film plan for a picture 
whose central theme is a Memorial Day parade. It begins 
somewhere, goes somewhere and ends somewhere. More im- 
portant still, it has something to say and, in its carefully inte- 
grated development, it says this something with significant 
coherence. Kept in its present general terms, the same struc- 
tural plan might well serve as a skeletal outline for any num- 
ber of films of any number of subjects. All that it needs is 
a changed significance, to be embodied in different subject 
matter. But let us see how it might be interpreted specifically 
in our selected subject, the parade. Pencil and paper will 
now be of aid, and we find ourselves jotting slowly: 


This phrase might be a title for the whole picture, since it 
catches the essence of the day's observance. Although it can be 
changed easily later, it serves now as a convenient guide. 
(Note look into possibility of double exposed wordings on 
a moving flag background.) With this in mind, how can we 
best carry out item No. 1, already discussed? An introductory 
subtitle seems to be most efficient, and we work out the fol- 

First conceived in 1868, Memorial 
Day was once an honor only to those 
who jell in the Civil War. 

This does it nicely (announces the subject matter and 
suggests its significance) , and we "mull over" what few scenes 


we might get, to represent this idea. Briefly, let us start with 
a full view of the United States flag, blowing out from its 
staff against the sky; we tilt slowly down the flagstaff, until the 
same shot discloses the serried ranks of gravestones in a 
cemetery; we go from this shot to a semi closeup, in which an 
old headstone fills the frame; a hand comes into view and lays 
a wreath on the grave; we go to a similar shot of the foot of 
the grave, as twin flags are inserted in the rusted iron insignia 
that mark a soldier's rest. This should be enough to give the 
idea of our introduction, and we move on in our development 
to item No. 2 (indicate briefly how the occasion is observed) . 
Again a subtitle is called into play, this time for transition: 

But now, since the greater battles of 
the World War, the day has grown to 
be a memorial to all of our country's 
soldier dead. 

As bait for what is coming, we jot down some less specific 
suggestions: run a series of three or four short scenes of the 
parade, or, if possible, stage a series of brief shots of Civil 
War, Spanish War and World War veterans. Since this foot- 
age is just a "hook" or "come on," make it short, and get on 
to No. 3 (build up interest by showing widespread prepara- 
tions) . A subtitle keys it: 

A quiet holiday, it is shared in prepara- 
tion by all in the community. 

Here, obviously, is the place for those scenes of Mother 
decorating the Red Cross float, of Brother Harold rehearsing 
with the Legion band, the volunteer fire crew shining the 
engine and children adorning their bicycles. There should be 
others, more impersonal, of the civic preparations along Main 
Street. There is chance here for human interest, good view- 


points and carefully studied lighting, all building up to No. 4, 
the central event itself. Introduce it with a simple subtitle: 

And soon the great day dawns . . . 

Now for our pictures of the parade. Although we may 
have seemed to take a long time in getting to this, actually 
the introductory material which we have used will still be a 
definitely minor part of the film running a possible twenty 
five to fifty feet, in comparison with the parade's hundred 
or two hundred. And this modest extra footage will be 
well worth the expense, in the feeling of roundness and im- 
portance that it imparts to the finished job. As for notes 
on what scenes to try for, at the parade, they cannot be 
specific, but we may set down a few generally effective ideas 
(that are discussed in full in Chapter X). 

Now, we have to plan only a brief conclusion, to round out 
our preparations. We know that the parade will march to the 
cemetery for its final ceremonies; therefore, no transition 
by a title will be needed to follow the guidance of item No. 5 
(conclude by tying the specific event once more to its general 
significance). Why cannot the closing scenes be simply an 
echo of the opening, but with the order of the action running 
in reverse? So, we have a long view of parade officials and 
others gathered in ceremony at the foot of the flagstaff; a 
medium shot, looking down a file of soldiers as they fire a 
salute; an upward angle shot, against the sky, of Harold blow- 
ing the bugle; hands lay a wreath and crossed flags on a grave; 
we go back to a longer view of the Legion band and then we 
make a slow tilt up the flagstaff that ends on the billowing flag, 
brilliant against the sky. 

Here, then, in fairly full detail, we see every step of the 
way to develop the simple central core of an idea into a well 
rounded film plan. In review, these steps are: (a) select a 
theme or central idea which interests you; (b) examine or 
analyze this theme from the viewpoints of the four queries, 
already discussed; (c) in the light of your findings from this 


examination, sketch a general skeleton of your film plan and 
then fill out this skeleton with as many specific scene nota- 
tions as are needed. 

The end product of following this method is called, in movie 
parlance, a "treatment outline." Although this may, by the 
experienced, be produced successfully in the mind alone, it is 
always better to work it out on paper. As may be seen La our 
example, such an outline sometimes will indicate the exact 
scenes that are needed and, at others, will endeavor merely 
to suggest the kind of thing to try for. The next phase of film 
plan development, beyond the treatment outline, is known 
as the "scenario," which is discussed in full in Chapter XIX. 

When you film the plan, whether it is written in full, is 
expressed in a few notes or consists merely of an outline in 
your mind, you may not be able to get the exact shots that 
you planned to take. You may find that you will have to 
make compromises, because things seldom happen exactly as 
we picture them in advance. 

Nevertheless, the plan will be invaluable. With its aid, you 
can produce a unified and interesting movie and, because you 
know what you are after, you can get the best shots that are 
available. You can take advantage of unexpected filming op- 
portunities that may crop up, because you have a scheme 
into which they may be fitted, if they are suitable. 

Since you know what you want, you can go about getting 
it with a minimum of bother, and you need not stop con- 
tinually, to decide what you are going to film. Working with 
a plan prepared in advance is the easiest way to make a 
movie, and it is the way that makes the best movie. 

The basic scenes of silent movies 

In all film planning, the camera's position is an important 
factor. The conventional phrases that indicate what is in- 
cluded in silent movie scenes are given here with illustrations. 
They are not always applicable to theatrical talking pictures. 




QOD r 

Long Shot. An all inclusive scene, in which the participat- 
ing human subjects are visible as full length figures in the 
middle or background of the setting. Depending on the camera 
treatment, nearly any required number of persons may be 
included in the scope of a long shot. This type of scene has 
two chief uses: (1) to establish the setting and locale of 
more specific action which is to follow; (2) to encompass the 
range of sweeping or mobile action, such as men on horse- 
back, an automobile on a highway or a ski chase across the 
crest of a hill. 

Semi Long Shot. A scene, less inclusive than the long shot, 
in which the human subjects are still visible at full length 
and not in the foreground of the setting. A compromise term, 
semi long shot can be used to suggest a lesser scope of estab- 
lished setting or a narrower range of included action. 


Medium Shot. An exclusive scene, in which the human 
subjects are seen in full length in the foreground of the set- 
ting, dominating it and just failing to fill the frame at top and 
bottom. This is the fundamental scene, by which all movie 
story telling, of general nature, is carried on. In it, once a 
subject has been registered with a closer shot, we can present 
character traits, plot developments and action. It is from the 
medium shot that one must work to the more limited and 
more dramatic close shots. 


Semi Closeup. A scene, more exclusive than the medium 
shot, in which the included human subjects are seen from 
about the waist line to just above the head. More dramatic 
than the medium shot, the semi closeup can be used, to 
a certain degree, in story progression, if the camera position 
is properly taken. Each character should be identified, early 
in the film, with a semi closeup, and it is from this and the 
closeup that spoken titles are introduced. 



Closeup. The most exclusive scene of all, in which one 
human subject is seen from about the shoulder line to just 
above the top of the head, completely dominating the picture. 
This is the fundamental dramatic scene. It is used to heighten 
dramatic effect, to show clearly the reaction of one character 
to another and to emphasize important objects, story de- 
velopments or turning points. 


THE new movie maker need not go far in search of 
something to film. Family and friends can be the first 
subjects, and his own back yard, the first movie set. 

But we need imagination and a fresh outlook. These can 
come from careful observation of people and surroundings that 
are old and familiar commonplaces, but which will yield 
amazing movie returns, if we only look on them as an out- 
sider might. 

Regarding your family objectively, decide on the activities 
or interests, most characteristic of each of its members. Work 
out simple themes of action, based on these interests, and 
your films will ring true. Plan pictures about the hobbies 
and recreations of those who are closest to you, because their 
unself conscious absorption in these things will prove to be 
your finest filming ally. 

How about Grandfather and his project of a pool in the 
yard, for fish? What about Mother and her garden? There is 
a natural pictorial advantage in a garden. Have you an 
archer, a croquet enthusiast or a quoit pitcher in your midst? 

Let us look at Mother and her garden. Here we bring in 
little Mary Anne, who, like all toddlers, delights in copying 
her elders. Mother's simplest action, echoed in miniature, 
takes on new interest. Stress this dual action in your film plan. 

Show Mother going into the garden, in her pretty flowered 
pinafore, equipped with trowel, shears and watering pot. Mary 



Anne, bored by a picture book, has decided to help. She 
disappears indoors, and Mother works on. After a few 
moments, Mother looks up, in delighted surprise, to see her 
youngest coming toward her, also in pinafore, loaded down 
with her tiny tooJs. 

Mother sets her at work at a safe and simple task. For a 
brief time, they both are occupied happily. Then, into the 
drive come two of Mother's garden club friends, whom she 
goes to greet. One of the visitors wants to see Mother's new 
method of setting out aster seedlings. Mother leads them 
proudly to the aster bed only to find that Mary Anne 
has practically ruined the lot, because she thought that they 
were weeds. 

For a fuller record of Mother alone, why not film her daily 
visit to market? Show her leaving the house in her car you 
can get a good closeup, as she takes her place behind the steer- 
ing wheel and then, in a few shots, picture the car at different 
stages of her journey to market. It stops in front of a shop, 
and Mother gets out. You can include closeups of the fruit 
and vegetables on display at the shop entrance, as Mother 
examines them and makes her purchase. You have a natural 
film plan, if you but follow her progress. 

After the day's marketing, Mother starts home deter- 
minedly. But she sees insert a long shot of a beauty shop, 
a movie theatre or a window with frocks and furs and is 
completely diverted from the homeward rush. We leave her 
there. Will it be the beauty shop or the kitchen range? 

For a film of Father and the boys, there is baseball. Tommy 
gets, at last, the new pitcher's mitt that he has longed for, 
and, in the late afternoon, he and a friend are playing catch 
in the yard. Dad arrives and soon takes a hand in the fun; 
his pitching can either be better than it should be, or worse, 
depending upon your own ideas. In any case, the boys are 
delighted. They invite him to join Tom, next Saturday, at the 
ball field. A big game is on, and they need an umpire. Dad 


appears, and, from there on, you can write your own and 
Dad's! finish. 

Go out into the town, as well. Involve the public park, the 
zoo, a hockey game or a ski meet with your family and their 
fun. This works in winter, as well as in summer. 

TIME. A wintry Saturday morning. The snow is nearly a 
foot deep, after a long fall. 

PLACE. The back porch, as Dad starts off to his work and 
sees the drifted driveway. 

PLAYERS. Dad, Mother and one or more children. Dad and 
Mother are on the porch, as he is about to leave. 

He stumbles through the snow, toward the garage; he 
pauses, saying to Mother, "Tell Tom to shovel the snow off 
the drive and walks, will you?" 

Mother nods assent and calls through the open door to 
Tom. He comes out, gets his orders, but makes a bargain with 
Dad to drive him and his friends to a ski run in the afternoon, 
as a reward. As the morning passes, we see Tom struggling 
through his task. We catch Dad, outside his office, arranging 
with a friend for bridge, that very evening. When he reaches 
home, at noon, Tom holds him to the bargain, and off they 
(and any others that you may want to put into the film) go 
for skiing. 

Here you can mix scenes of sport with pictures of the 
family, but the all important thing is to show, clearly and 
emphatically, that the youngsters give Dad an active and 
bustling afternoon, in the open. When, finally, they get home, 
he is tired and drowsy, and bridge is out of the question. As 
Mother greets them in the drive Tom calls out gaily, "Gee, 
Mom, I hope it snows tonight, so we can talk Dad into 
taking us skiing tomorrow!" The film ends with Father waving 
protesting hands, as he goes wearily into the house. 

A. short film oj chUdren 

Have you a daughter and a dog? There is the basis for a 


film story. The day is sunny, and Mary and her friends are 
playing in the sand box in the back yard. Close at hand is a 
small table, with children's chairs and the usual litter of toys. 
The little girls decide to play "tea party"; they set about 
gathering the scattered toy plates and spoons. These are 
soiled from last week's production of mud pies. 

"You can wash the dishes, Jane," says Mary, pointing to 
one of her playmates. Jane protests, but it does no good. She 
wins the job. The action could be filmed in this way. 

Medium shot. The children playing about the sand pile. 

Semi closeup. One of the girls, who looks up from her play 

and says: 
Title. "Let's have a tea party!" 

(The title can be made, at small cost, 
by a commercial title service.) 

Medium shot. The girls like the idea. Mary, in the fore- 
ground, picks up a tin plate, caked with 
mud. She looks at it. 

Semi closeup. Mary inspecting the soiled plate. She looks 
up and points past the camera, saying: 

Title. "You can wash the dishes , Jane!" 

Semi closeup. Reverse the viewpoint of the camera and 
point it toward Jane, who is facing Mary. 
Jane does not want to obey, but she re- 
luctantly takes the plate that Mary hands 
to her. 

(To reverse the viewpoint is often effec- 
tive, in telling a story with a movie 
camera. Here we see Mary, from Jane's 


point of view; then, Jane, from Mary's 
point of view. The result is much more 
interesting than if we had filmed both 
Jane and Mary in one medium shot.) 

Mary and her companions busy themselves in the sand box, 
manufacturing mud pies for the "tea party," while Jane 
washes plates and cups at the tap, near the house. Mother, 
seated on the back porch, watches the children. She is peeling 
apples, preparatory to baking pies. We could film this part of 
our story in the following scenes. 

Medium shot. The children near the sand box. Jane carries 
the dishes out of the scene, and Mary leads 
the others in the pie making action. 

Semi closeup. Jane washing dishes at the tap. 
Medium shot. Mary and others at work in the sand box. 

Medium shot. Mother peeling apples and looking past the 
camera at the children. 

Medium shot. Jane brings the clean dishes to the sand box, 
to be filled with fresh mud pies. 

(Here, several things happen at the 
same time. Jane is washing dishes; 
Mary is making mud pies, with the 
other children; Mother is peeling apples. 
Note how the shots of action are inter- 
laced, to, give the impression that the 
different scenes occur at the same time. 
This is called "parallel action.") 

We have the beginning of a little film story. Now we need 
to develop it, so we introduce the dog. He bounces into the 


picture, while the children are working at the sand box. He 
sniffs at the mud pies and proves to be a general nuisance. 

Meanwhile, Mother has finished her task with the apples, 
and a closeup of them, neatly sliced, shows that they are prob- 
ably destined for pies. She carries them into the house. 

The scene shifts back to the sand box, where the dog 
is causing more trouble. (The application of syrup to the mud 
pies will lure him to smell them and, perhaps, to lick them.) 

The problem of the dog has become intolerable to the cooks, 
so Mary ties him securely, she believes. A closeup of the do v g 
shows him, with head cocked to one side, looking speculatively 
at the camera. 

In the next scene, Mary returns to the others at the table. 
They have set it neatly, with all the mud pies in place. One 
of the girls finds a vase among the toys and puts it in the 
center of the arrangement. There is a discussion flowers are 
needed and the whole group goes out of the scene. 

We see the children in the garden, selecting flowers for the 
table. The scene shifts to a closeup of the dog, straining at 
his leash. The knot slips, and he bounds past the camera. The 
action is filmed in this series of scenes. 

Medium shot. Children in the garden, picking flowers. One 
girl carries the vase, into which others place 

Semi closeup. The dog straining at the leash. 

Semi closeup. From a different angle, to show the knot in 
the leash, as well as the dog. The knot slips, 
and the dog runs out of the scene. 

(The dog's master, or mistress, stands 
beyond lens range and calls to him. Be- 
tween these last two scenes, the knot 
is loosened, so that it will slip.) 


Medium shot. The tea table. The dog bounds into the 
scene and jumps up to the table, to look at 
the mud pies. 

Semi closeup. Two children in the garden hold the vase, 
now nearly filled with flowers. 

(Note the parallel action in this part 
of the film. While the children are pick- 
ing flowers, the dog escapes, which is 
expressed by showing alternate scenes 
of the two courses of action.) 

Mary and the others return to the tea table, only to meet 
disaster, for the dog has knocked it over. There is much grief 
and excitement. The children scold the dog. They start to 
right the tea table. But they hear something ? 

It is a parade, evidently in front of the house. They rush 
out of the scene, deserting the table and its confusion. All this 
could be pictured in these scenes. 

Medium shot. The children coming toward the camera, car- 
rying flowers. 

Semi closeup. Mary stops suddenly; she puts her hands to 
her face and stares past the camera. 

Medium shot. Reverse the position, the camera taking 
Mary's viewpoint, to show the table, which 
has been overturned. The dog still sniffs 
amid the debris. 

(Between this shot and the last, you 
can tip the table, if the dog will not 
oblige. Some raw meat, placed among 
the wreckage, will entice him to nuzzle 
the mud pies. Note the camera treat- 


ment, by which we show, first, Mary 
staring past the camera, and, second, 
what she sees. The latter shot is filmed 
from her viewpoint. This is an ex- 
ample of important movie technique.) 

Medium shot. Reverse the viewpoint, to show Mary and 
her friends. They run toward the table. 

(Film this scene from a position that 
is closer to the action than are the view- 
points of the other medium shots; 
center Mary in it.) 

Medium shot. A side view of the tea table. The children 
run into the scene and begin to set things 
in order. 

Semi closeup. Mary scolds the dog; the others are busy 
with the table, in the background. 

Medium shot. The children at work. Mary begins to tie 
the dog again, when all hear something. 
They stop suddenly. 

Medium shot. Of a parade, a fire engine, or any other street 

Medium shot. The children again. They all rush out of the 
scene, toward the street, the dog with them. 

[Here is another useful device for tell- 
ing a movie story. The children do not 
see the parade; they hear it. To tell 
the audience what they hear, we insert 
the shot that shows the parade. This 
scene can be filmed at any time, or you 
can take it from another reel and 


"splice" it in at this point. (See Chap- 
ter XI.) The parade need not even be 
filmed in front of the house, because 
almost any parade scene, that does 
not show unsuitable background, can 
be used.] 

While the children watch the parade, Mother comes out of 
the house, to the porch, carrying the pies that she has baked. 
She puts them on a table on the porch, to cool. Suddenly 
she sees the overturned tea table. (A closeup of Mother look- 
ing up; a semi long shot of the tea table; another shot of 
Mother, who smiles and shakes her head.) She goes to the 
table and sets things right. 

Then she leaves the scene, but returns with clean dishes 
which she places on the table. She has also brought one of her 
pies, which she cuts, apportioning a piece to each plate. As a 
final touch, she puts the carefully garnered flowers in the 
center of the neatly arranged table. 

When we break this action into separate scenes, we should 
splice in another shot of the parade and follow it with a scene 
of the children, in line along the fence, looking eagerly past 
the camera. (Actually they do not see the parade, but the 
audience will not know this, because of the association of 
ideas: (a) children watching and (b) the parade. This asso- 
ciation will be so strong that the audience will take for granted 
the fact that the children are watching an actual street scene.) 

Next we show Mother on the porch, discovering the wrecked 
table. We have a closeup, as she cuts the juicy pie. 

The children, returning from the passing parade, discover 
the neatly arranged table. They are puzzled, but delighted. 
Mother, in hiding behind the house, catches the dog; she holds 
him by the leash, while she watches the effect of her thought- 

Here, you might insert attractive closeups of the children, 


as they enjoy the pie. The next to last shot can show Mother 
watching, and the final scene can very well be a closeup of 
the dog licking his chops, which have been previously an- 
nointed with syrup. 

This simple, but lively, film tale could be completed in an 
afternoon, for the whole action is staged out of doors and in 
the same general location. Only the footage of the parade is 
extraneous, but you may already have this or you can secure 
substitute action firemen, for example within a few days. 

Tricks that deceive 

Easy tricks the deceits that cinematography makes pos- 
sible which can be accomplished with any movie camera, 
always add interest and variety to family film stories. Since 
they exhibit the unusual in the very bosom of the usual, their 
effect in these intimate films is especially hilarious. 

First of these tricks is that in which the running camera is 
suddenly stopped, all characters "freeze," or hold their posi- 
tions, and an object is removed from, or added to, the 
scene. If the object is removed, it must be one to which atten- 
tion has been directed in a previous scene. When the camera 
is started again, from an identical viewpoint, the effect on 
the screen will be that of the object mysteriously vanishing 
or appearing. 

Since exact "freezing" and the exact registration of all ob- 
jects in the second scene, just as they were located in the first, 
are often difficult, especially if a large setting is employed, this 
device is best used from a close camera position. 

Second of the simple camera tricks is "reverse motion." This 
is achieved by filming a scene of normal action, with the 
camera held upside down. When you receive the reel from 
the processing station, the inverted scene is cut out and its 
footage is turned end for end, after which it is spliced back 
into the reel. When the film is projected, every action in the 
scene which was filmed upside down will appear to have oc- 
curred backward. 



Holding the camera upside down plus turning 

the scene end for end, after it is processed, 

equals reverse motion. 

A diver springs back from the water to the diving board, 
a sled magically slides up hill or building blocks rise from the 
floor, to arrange themselves into a structure. All this wizardry 
is accomplished merely by holding the camera upside down 
and by turning the scene end for end, after it has been 

Suppose that we film Mary Anne reading in a swing. She is 
intent on her book, which the camera, by a closeup, reveals 
as a collection of fairy tales. Some friends enter the scene; 
they ask her what she is reading; she shows them the book. 
They laugh skeptically, but Mary Anne wins their attention 
by pointing out that she has just been reading about a magic 
wishing stone. 

"Let's look for a wishing stone!" exclaims one, and, still 
laughing at their own foolishness, all the youngsters are soon 
intent on the new game. One after another, various stones 
are tried, but nothing happens. Suddenly, one girl holds 
a strangely shaped stone in her hand, as if she were making a 
wish. Presto! A box of candy appears on a chair in front of her. 

Amazed and incredulous, she gingerly puts out a hand to 
touch it. It is real! In great excitement, all reach for a sweet 
from the box which the wisher has opened. The stone is for- 
gotten for the moment. But it is soon remembered, as one 
child after another tries its powers. They wish for dolls, bi- 


cycles, or whatever their hearts desire (and your properties 
permit) . 

Mary Anne's brother, who nas come into the scene to 
"cadge" the candy, looks speculatively up at a fairly high ob- 
ject, such as a porch or the top of a wall. He picks up the stone 
and scornfully expresses a wish to be lifted. Now, by using the 
reverse motion trick, we can show him apparently flying to 
the wall top. We merely film him with the camera upside 
down, as he jumps from the high point down to the ground 
where he stood, when he made the wish. 

For a climax, Mary Anne might wish that all her guests 
would go home, so that she would have no competitors for 
the candy. Even as she voices the wish, in an aside for her 
politeness goes that far the others disappear, carrying what 
they wished for away with them, excepting the candy. (It will 
be more effective if they do this one by one, rather than 
en masse.) Mary Anne looks about, in evident disbelief. Now, 
Mother enters suddenly and collars the remains of the candy. 
Mary Anne stares at the wishing stone, which she holds out 
in front of her. It vanishes, too. Mary Anne rubs her eyes, 
shakes her head ruefully, and the film ends. 


In "around the yard movies," you must nearly always be the 
director, as well as the cameraman. The first rule of good 
direction, whether the actors are children or adults, requires 
that the director must have clearly in mind what his players 
are to do. 

Here, the well sequenced film plan is an important aid. 
Since you have prepared a plan, you are thoroughly familiar 
with the course of your story. By checking against the plan, 
you may make sure, during the actual filming, that you are 
getting the scenes that you need and want, and that your 
choice of viewpoints is adequate, varied and effective. A film 
plan leaves you free to tackle the job of managing your 


Your most important counsel to the players, of course, will 
be the old warning, do not look at the camera. Besides stating 
this rule categorically, it is often helpful to explain to your 
cast, if they are not too young, the reasons for it. Since the 
temptation to stare at the camera stems directly from a 
"snapshot consciousness," point out that, in this case, you 
are not trying to take their pictures, but, rather, to film them 
as representatives of persons in a story. 

Mother should think of herself, not as your wife, but rather, 
as somebody embodying the general characteristics of mother- 
hood. For the moment, she should endeavor to portray an 
idea, instead of simply being herself. Don't say that you 
want to take her picture. Say, rather, that you wish her to 
serve as a model for the familiar actions of any mother. With 
this thought in mind, your players will be far less tempted 
to give way to inane and self conscious camera "jitters." 

Second in importance is the matter of knowing exactly 
what you want your players to do in each new scene. Explain 
these actions to them clearly, in whatever manner you find 
to be most effective. One method is by the general approach, 
in which you simply outline the course of the story, leaving 
the interpretation of his part in it to each player. While this 
may work toward more natural action, it obviously can be 
used successfully only with a relatively able and adult cast. 

Far more sure is the specific method of suggestion, in which 
you set forth, in exact detail, just the actions and the attitudes 
that you wish to have portrayed. John, you point out, is 
seated, looking over a handful of travel folders that describe 
a West Indian cruise. Mary enters from the left, comes up 
to him casually and begins to speak. As she does so, John 
bounds from his seat and tries, awkwardly, to conceal the 
folders. Mary, suddenly aware of his dismay, indicates a 
wish to see what he is hiding. John finally produces the leaflets. 
Now comes a closeup of these, in Mary's hands. This illus- 
trates direction of the specific kind. 


Whichever method you employ, be sure, in simple films of 
this kind, that the actions which you ask or expect from 
your players are natural and easy. Don't look for too much 
in the way of histrionics. If you must have something on the 
"heavy" side, plan especially to keep that particular scene 
short and direct, so that your actors will have little, if any, 
time for "acting." 

Even in the simplest portrayals, be careful to provide every 
player with some simple bits of "business," some casual actions 
which will keep his hands busy and his mind free from self 
consciousness. Common examples of business are found in 
a man's lighting and smoking a cigarette, a girl's checking 
her "complexion" or adjusting her hair, and in an actor's 
tossing a small coin or twirling a key chain. 

Once the actual shooting begins, don't take a position that 
is obviously tense and uncomfortable. Your discomfort may 
transmit itself to the actors. If you hold the camera in your 
hands, do this easily and casually. If it rests on a tripod, 
avoid crouching behind it, in your best newsreel technique, 
while you shoot a simple garden scene. Select your setting 
and determine your action, first; then, if possible, rehearse 
the action, while you observe it in the viewfinder. When you 
really film the scene, push the button from an easy stance 
beside the camera. If you do this, you are far less likely to 
distract your amateur actors. 

This offhand camera handling has the further advantage 
of letting you use the "chatter" technique of keeping your 
players at ease, while you film them. Like the magician or 
the card trickster, you will base much of your success on 
ability to keep the attention of the actors fixed on things 
of which you want them to be aware. Push the button and 
begin your casual comments at once. Give your directions 
easily, urge the actors softly, and act the clown somewhat, 
if need be, to keep your players relaxed and responsive to 
your desires. 


Directing children 

If all your actors are children, the foregoing suggestions 
will serve fairly well, but there are still others which are 
important. In dealing with youngsters, be especially careful 
to keep each scene short and simple. 

Young minds either cannot, or will not, concentrate, for 
long, on carrying out a continuous stream of directions. Don't 
ask too much of them in any one take, and be ready always 
to shift to a new camera position, if something goes wrong. 
The changing viewpoints will improve the film, in any case, 
and all slight errors can be trimmed out, in editing. 

Many filmers have found it helpful to enact important bits 
of action for the benefit of young players. Children are very 
good mimics, and this love of mimicry gives you a natural 
beginning, from which you can elicit more individual re- 
sponses. Challenge the youngsters to do better than you have 
done, and you will probably get convincing results. 

Tell children, seriously and carefully, what the story is and 
indicate the importance of each part of it. Be sure that they 
know the reason for a scene in the film tale, for this informa- 
tion helps them to keep a feeling of continuity. 

Both children and adults may move more quickly than is 
desirable. Tell them to pause, before making significant ges- 
tures, and show them, by example, how to move more delib- 
erately, yet naturally. 

Above everything else, don't urge children to be "cute." 
They probably will detest the suggestion and will freeze up 
at once. Make them see that your movie making is, for them, 
really a new and interesting game, and you will get the best 
that they have to give you. 

We must get close shots 

In all pictures of family and neighborhood life, it is very 
important to have close shots. The chief purpose of these 
films is to provide, in years to come, a record of bygone days, 
and a record that is more real and interesting than a rambling 


series of "portrait scenes" in which nobody is natural. So, 
the camera must come close enough, time after time, to get 
characteristic expressions. 

Also, your audience, in looking at one of these family pic- 
tures, will, very early in the projection, want to know which 
figure on the screen is Sally and which is Dorothy. The close 
shot will give the answer. 

In directing a group of amateur actors in a simple back 
yard story, the fewer you have in a scene, the easier it is to 
manage them; so, we have another reason for the use of 
close shots. 

Finally, we must never forget that the camera has only 
one method of giving us details which, in real life, we observe 
by handling objects, and that is through the closeup, the most 
informative of all camera positions, because it answers the 
very natural question, "what is he doing now?" 


IN THE earlier chapters of this book, we have met the basic 
movie tools camera, projector and screen. With these, 
anybody who will exercise care can make and show beauti- 
ful movie scenes. If he is willing to plan his pictures in advance 
and to present a theme or continuity that follows the sequence 
method, already discussed, he can, with the admixture of a 
little imagination, produce entertaining, and even stirring, 

But there are a number of accessory tools that will greatly 
improve his pictures and expand the possibilities that lie be- 
fore him. Some of these, like the exposure meter, already 
referred to, help by simplifying necessary steps in filming, 
leaving more time for the real fun of movie making planning 
what you want to film and how you are going to film it. 

Other accessories add directly to the flexibility of the movie 
medium and extend the range of effects that you can get. All 
these are useful, but none can take the place of care or imag- 
ination on the part of the man behind the camera. 

The tripod 

Foremost among the accessories that improve a filmer's 
results is the tripod, because, after correct exposure and focus, 
nothing contributes more to the attractiveness of a movie 
scene than a rock steady image in projection. Few of us, 
unaided, can hold a camera so firmly that views will not 
appear to be shaking on the screen. This extraneous move- 



ment is bound to detract from the scene, however beautiful or 
interesting it may be. 

Can you imagine yourself in an art gallery, trying to look 
at a painting that bounces and pitches in every direction? 
Your natural desire would be to grasp it and to hold it still. 
You would, putting it mildly, enjoy the picture more without 
this distraction. Is not your movie audience similarly entitled 
to look at scenes in which only those objects move that 
should move, and in which the earth, the sky and other nor- 
mally stationary features remain fixed? 

A tripod offers other advantages besides camera steadiness. 
You can place your camera on it and, while you are looking 
through the viewfinder, you can move the camera upward, 
downward or to one side, until you discover the most effective 
viewpoint. When this has been found, the camera may be left 
in the desired position, while you step forward to take an 
exposure meter reading or to direct your subject. 

If you want to follow a moving object, the "pan" head of 
the tripod will let you swing the camera smoothly, while you 
keep the subject centered in the finder. 

A tripod is exceedingly helpful when you film from a mov- 
ing automobile, a train or some other vehicle. You might con- 
clude that a scene made from a moving car would be steadier, 
if the camera were held in the hand, so that the body would 
"absorb the shocks." As a matter of fact, the body does not 
absorb shocks; it magnifies them. The vehicle, being heavier, 
does not bounce as high as you do; hence, the steadiest shots 
from a motor car are made with a tripod resting securely on 
its floor. If you doubt this, try the two methods and compare 
the results. 

Although the use of a tripod greatly improves a scene filmed 
from a train window, it does not remove the objection to a 
shot made at right angles to the direction of travel, if any 
objects are in the foreground. Such a shot gives a result similar 
to that of a panorama of adjacent vertical features, in which 
objects that flash past you will dither on the screen. 


Filming from a train or automobile, one may obtain best 
results by shooting either in the direction of travel, or away 
from it through the car's windshield or from the rear ob- 
servation platform of a train. 

Even if the tripod is the steadiest camera support, its bulk 
and the time required to set it up are handicaps. There are 
substitute devices, fairly convenient in use, such as the "uni- 
pod," a single leg, at the top of which is a screw for engaging 
the camera. This device prevents vertical camera motion, but 
one must take care, to avoid lateral movement, in using it. 

Variations of this type of camera support are the "breast 
pod," a neck strap from which a camera may be supported; 
the "chain pod," a chain, one end of which is fastened to the 
, camera, while the other is left free, so that the operator can 
stand on it and, by lifting the camera until the chain is 
taut, prevent vertical movement. 

When none of these accessories is available for camera sup- 
port, objects that are near at hand can often be pressed into 
service. The camera can be placed on boulders, tables, window 
sills, car sides or fences. It may be rested against the side of 
a building or a tree trunk. 

Lacking a tripod or a tripod substitute of any kind, the cam- 
era must be held as motionless as possible. Practice an easy, 
comfortable stance, with arms braced against your body. The 
rifleman's technique is a useful guide. 


An accessory that will both improve a movie maker's re- 
sults and expand the range of his artistic expression is the 
filter. This is a piece of colored glass or tinted gelatin, set in 
a suitable mount, that may be placed in front of the camera's 
lens. Gelatin filters may be placed behind the lens. Filters 
modify the effect of the light that reaches the lens and, 
through it, the sensitive emulsion. 

Most black and white films are especially sensitive to blue 
light. This is something that would be of no particular con- 



Judith and F. R. Crawley, ACL 

Amateur fiimers make prize 
winning movies of news 
events, pets, vacation days 
and back yard subjects. You 
need not go far, to find ma- 
terial for a good film. 


Philip Gendreau 

You can darken the sky 
in a color shot, by using 
a polarizing screen. Thus, 
you may obtain a dark 
blue background for bril- 
liant foreground colors. 

Esther Henderson from Black Star 

In black and white film- 
ing, use a filter to darken 
skies and to make the 
clouds stand out. The il- 
lustration, right, shows 
this effect. Below arc 
frame enlargements of 
filtered black and white 
movie shots. 

Ray L. Garner 

Clement K. Chase, ACL 


sequence to the average movie maker, were it not for the 
fact that the sky is blue. But it is blue; hence, the areas of 
sky that are included in a black and white scene are likely 
to be overexposed. Light coming from the sky is both strong 
and plentiful and it is of a color to which monochromatic 
film is especially sensitive. This light may give us a glaring, 
white sky on the screen, a "bald sky" in which clouds with 
their wealth of beautiful forms being themselves white, are 
entirely lost. 

But this effect is easily corrected by using a yellow filter, 
which retards blue light or, putting it more exactly, allows 
less blue light to reach the lens. A yellow filter darkens the 
sky that we see on the screen and permits white clouds to 
stand out against it. 

We sometimes speak of using filters "to bring out the 
clouds"; actually, the filter has no effect upon these, but only 
upon the sky behind them. If this sky is completely filled 
with clouds, as it is on an overcast day, using a filter will make 
no appreciable difference in the picture. 

Yellow filters are available in a variety of densities; roughly 
speaking, the darker the yellow, the darker the shade of gray 
in which the blue sky will appear on the screen. A red filter 
another type of these most serviceable movie making adjuncts 
has an even more pronounced effect, because it will give 
us an almost black sky, in strong contrast to the white cloud 
forms a beautiful effect, but of limited usefulness, since it is 

A filter tends to lighten objects of its own color; therefore, 
a red filter will cause red lips to register as very pale gray; it 
has the effect of eradicating freckles from screen portraits and 
of lightening the tone of deeply tanned skin. 

There are also green filters, which are chiefly useful in 
filming subjects, such as landscapes, that have a preponder- 
ance of green. They cause green shades to register in lighter 
tones of gray and they darken red shades slightly, when they 
are used in conjunction with panchromatic film. 


With all their magical effect on black and white movie 
scenes, filters are both inexpensive and very easy to use. 
Spring clip filter mounts may be had to fit lenses of any 
diameter for 8mm. or 16mm. cameras. Optical manufacturers 
supply filters, mounted to fit their particular lenses, and 
camera makers also offer them, arranged for convenient use 
with their products. 

Since filters prevent a certain amount of light, of a specific 
color, from reaching the lens, it follows that they diminish 
the total amount of light that affects the film. One must open 
the lens diaphragm wider, to compensate for this loss of light, 
in order to avoid underexposure. 

Filter factors 

The extent to which we must increase exposure over the 
normal amount, to compensate for the presence of the filter, 
is called the filter's "factor." This is expressed in numerals, 
with the addition of the letter "x," thus: 2x, 4x, etc. The letter 
"x" signifies "times," just as it does in a multiplication table. 

A 2x filter necessitates opening the lens by one full stop, to 
compensate for the amount of light that is excluded by the 
tinted glass. A factor of 4x would require two stops of addi- 
tional exposure, while an 8x factor would call for three stops. 
In calculating the number of stops indicated by a given 
factor, one must remember that, whenever the diaphragm 
is opened by one full stop, the amount of exposure that is 
given to the film will be doubled. 

The factor of a given filter is not constant, and it differs 
with the type of film that is used. This is true, because black 
and white films vary in their sensitivity to colors and, there- 
fore, in their sensitivity to the effect of the particular color 
of a filter. 

So, we must find the factors of our filters, with reference to 
the film that we use. The filter's maker can almost invariably 
supply this information, but, if he does not do so, you can 
obtain it from the Amateur Cinema League. 


Using filters can be greatly simplified, if, after getting your 
factors, for employment with different films, you will trans- 
late these into a statement of the additional diaphragm open- 
ing that is required for each film. You can write the resultant 
information on a card which can be carried in your camera 
case. Notations on the card might read: 

With film. 

In using my yellow filter, open the diaphragm one stop 
over normal exposure 

In using my red filter, open the diaphragm three stops 
over normal exposure 

Notations for use with other films may be placed on other 
cards, or all may be collected on one. However, it is essential 
that, before you depend upon any set of notes, you make cer- 
tain that these apply to the film that will be used. If, for 
example, you shift from panchromatic to extra fast film, new 
notations may be required. 

A yellow filter may be used with orthochromatic or pan- 
chromatic emulsions. A red filter may be used only with pan- 
chromatic emulsions or with one of the extra fast panchro- 
matic films, for orthochromatic emulsions are not sensitive 
to red light, and red filters admit light of that color only. 
If you try to shoot a scene with orthochromatic film in the 
camera and a red filter on the lens, the net effect will be the 
same as the result that you would get, if the protecting cap 
were left on the lens blackness on the screen and no picture 
at all! A green filter is useful only when you are filming with 
panchromatic and extra fast panchromatic emulsions. 

No filter can be used profitably with "color blind" film, of 
the positive type. With this emulsion, the only effect of 
filters is to reduce the exposure, although a red filter would 
prevent any exposure at all, as is the case with orthochro- 
matic film. 

All these filters are intended to improve black and white 


movie scenes, and none of them should be used with color 
films. The effect of such a filter on a scene in natural color 
is precisely the same as that which would be observed, by 
holding the filter to the eye. Everything in the view is tinted 
with the color of the filter itself. 

A specialized aid, that has no particular effect on any one 
color in the scene, is the neutral density filter a piece of 
glass, tinted gray which serves to cut down the amount of 
light that is admitted to the lens. Its usefulness is limited to 
those rare occasions when the movie maker wants less ex- 
posure than that which is given by the smallest diaphragm 
opening of his lens. This circumstance can occur when the 
camera is loaded with one of the black and white, extra fast 
films and when the action takes place out of doors in brilliant 

Using a great many filters is unnecessary for the average 
filmer, who will find his needs adequately covered by a rela- 
tively small assortment. Medium yellow, medium red and 
dark red give a sufficiently varied filter kit. 

Some very good movie makers keep a yellow filter on the 
lens for every black and white shot made out of doors in good 
light. This practice does no harm, and it can add artistic 
values. If you try it, diaphragm settings must be made ac- 

The polarizing screen 

A good addition to a filter kit is the "polarizing screen," 
which, unlike colored filters, may be used with color film as 
well as with black and white film. It has two functions, one of 
which is very like that of the filter. It can diminish the amount 
of light coming from the blue sky and, if it is used with black 
and white film, it may cause the sky to register as a darker 
shade of gray. If it is used with color film, it may record 
the sky in a deep shade of blue, without affecting other colors 
hi the scene. 



The word "may" is used advisedly, because the exact re- 
sults of the polarizing screen, unlike those of colored filters, 
depend upon the direction of the illumination, in relation to 
the direction in which the camera is pointed. The effect is 
greatest when the camera is aimed, so that the sun's rays strike 
at right angles to the axis of the lens. The effect is diminished 
as the camera is turned further toward the sun or further 
away from it. The diagram will help to make this clear. Obvi- 


ously, the effect of the polarizing screen on the sky is smallest 
when we are filming with the sun directly behind our backs or 
directly in front of us. When the sun is exactly at one side, the 
effect is greatest. 

The intensity of effect of the polarizing screen may be regu- 
lated by rotating it in its mount. In employing it, one stands 
facing in the same direction as that in which the camera is 
to be pointed. Then the screen is held to the eye and it is 
rotated slowly, as one inspects the scene through it. When the 
desired effect has been secured, the rotation is suspended and 
the screen is placed over the camera's lens. But a polarizing 
screen must be placed on the camera, so that its position in 
the mount is identical with that which obtained when the 


rotation ceased. The effect on the projection screen is much 
the same as that which we see when we look through the 
polarizing screen itself. 

The polarizing screen also has the property of eliminating 
undesired reflections from various types of surfaces, such as 
window glass, glossy painted objects and water, for example. 
If one films through a window and if reflections in the glass 
obscure the view, it may be possible to eliminate them by the 
polarizing screen. The screen is manipulated, for this purpose, 
just as we use it, to secure darker skies. It is held to the eye 
and, while one observes the scene through it, the polarizing 
screen is rotated slowly, until that point is reached at which 
undesired reflections are eliminated or are subdued as much 
as possible. Then the screen is placed over the camera lens. 

Although the effect of the polarizing screen is conditioned 
by the direction of light, its range of utility is surprisingly 
large. By observing the scene through it, the user can always 
discover what result it will give. 

Filters for color film 

For a complete discussion of filters designed for use solely 
with color film, see Chapter XVII, Movies In Color. 

More elaborate cameras 

As one's filming range grows, he may want to buy a camera 
with more special features and facilities. He may admire the 
convenience of magazine film loading and may prefer a maga- 
zine camera for travel filming or for some special purpose in 
which interchangeability from one magazine of color film to 
another of black and white, at will and without loss of footage, 
is of particular value. 

The rapid loading that is possible with a magazine camera 
and the film interchangeability that it permits make this 
equipment especially valuable in travel, sport and surgical 

If you have a camera that is permanently fitted with a 


fixed focus //3.5 lens, you may wish to employ one that offers 
lens interchangeability, so that you can use a fixed focus lens, 
a faster focusing lens or a telephoto lens, at will. 

Two types of lens mounts permit this interchange. One of 
these is a screw mount, which is an opening in the camera 
case, threaded to take the lens, which is also threaded. The 
other is a bayonet mount, by means of which the lens is 
snapped into, and held in, position by studs and locking 
plates, instead of by threads. These two types of lenses are 
not immediately interchangeable, but they may be used to- 
gether with the aid of special adapters. 

"Turret mounts," that are available on some cameras, both 
8mm. and 16mm., make possible a simple and immediate inter- 
change of lenses. These are mounted in place on the turret, 
which is a revolving plate, that may be turned at will, to bring 
the desired lens into the taking position. Thus, in filming a 
football game, for example, one may shift rapidly from his 
regular lens to a telephoto. 

Variable camera speeds, that are used to produce fast and 
slow motion, provide another feature that is available on more 
complex and flexible cameras, although a somewhat limited 
range of speed is offered with certain less expensive instru- 

The "single frame release" is an additional feature that 
opens new avenues for the ingenious filmer. It permits the 
exposure of one film frame at a time, and it is used in securing 
scenes with animated figures. In these scenes, jointed figures 
appear to move of their own volition, or drawings seem to 
come to life and move, as in theatrical motion picture cartoons. 
In giving animation to jointed figures, the object is moved 
slightly and a frame is exposed; then, a further movement is 
made and another frame is exposed, until the desired action 
is completed. When this footage is screened at normal projec- 
tion speed, the object will appear to move without any ap- 
parent propelling force. 


Winding film backward 

A device by which film can be wound backward in the 
camera, after exposure, is another feature of some of the more 
elaborate types of 8mm. and 16mm. instruments. Generally, 
this takes the form of a crank, which is installed in such a 
way that, when it is turned, the entire film moving machinery 
operates in reverse. Certain cameras allow the entire roll of 
film to be rewound, while others permit backward winding 
only until the limit of full tension of the spring has been 
reached. Some cameras are also provided with a "reverse 
takeup" mechanism, so that, as the film is wound backward 
through the gate and the sprockets, the supply reel will run 
in reverse and return the film to its original place. 

Other cameras do not have this automatic feature, and the 
film must be wound backward by hand, by means of a small 
winding knob on the side of the case. The "wind back" feature 
can sometimes be installed on cameras, not originally equipped 
with this convenient device. 

The importance of this mechanism lies in the facility with 
which, by its aid, double exposures may be made. One may 
expose a scene, wind the film backward to a predetermined 
frame, and then reexpose it. In this way, for example, one 
might film a landscape, and on it record, later, the main title 
of a scenic movie; one might make a ghost appear in the scene 
or fill the screen with several smaller, independent scenes. This 
last effect, called "multiple exposure," requires the use of 
special masks, designed to obscure a part of the camera's 
aperture. One exposes a part of the film frame, having masked 
off the rest. The film is rewound, the area that was first ex- 
posed is now masked off, and another part of the frame is 

This method of winding exposed film backward for a second 
exposure also aids in making "dissolves," which are to be 
discussed shortly. 

In some 16mm. cameras we find a device, by means of which 


one may make "fades." This is a "variable shutter," which may 
be gradually closed or opened, while the camera is running. 
This operation results in a scene which "fades out," if the 
shutter is gradually closed, or "fades in" as the reverse 
of the fading out action is paradoxically termed if the shutter 
is gradually opened. 

With other cameras, a "fade out" or a "fade in" must be 
produced by devices that are placed in front of the lens for 
the purpose of gradually diminishing or increasing the amount 
of light that is admitted. 

Since a "dissolve"is a combination of a fade out on one scene 
and a fade in on another, both of which occur on one length 
of film, this interesting effect is produced most readily by a 
camera that has some means of winding exposed film back- 
ward and also a variable shutter. One fades out on the first 
scene, using the variable shutter for this operation, then winds 
the film backward and fades in on the second scene. The com- 
bination produces a dissolve, which gives, on the screen, the 
effect of one picture gradually merging into, and being re- 
placed by, another. 

The "wipeoff," an effect in which one scene appears to dis- 
place another by shoving it aside, may be produced by a 
special device which can be fitted only to certain types 
of more elaborate cameras. This device is geared to the 
mechanism; it consists of a fan shaped blade, which moves 
before the lens, cutting off one scene. When the movement 
has been completed, the film is wound backward to the be- 
ginning of the footage on which the effect will appear, and 
the fan blade is placed in position, so that it will uncover 
the new scene. 

The utility of fades, dissolves and wipeoffs and the various 
ways of achieving them without the aid of advanced cameras 
are discussed in Chapter XVI. 

Focusing devices 

One of the most important features of certain 8mm. and 


16mm. cameras is a focusing mechanism, by means of which 
we may observe the image of the subject on a ground glass, 
while we focus the lens, and thus see exactly when that image 
is sharp. This device eliminates the need of distance meters 
or tape measures, in getting accurate focus. Some cameras 
that incorporate this feature do so in such a way that only 
a part of the entire field is seen in the device; this part is 
magnified, so that one may observe the image clearly. Other 
cameras are designed to show the entire frame area, so that 
one may see exactly the field that is covered by the lens, as 
well as determine when the picture is sharply focused. 

A special device, which gives "full field, ground glass focus- 
ing," also may be obtained for magazine loading cameras. 
It is temporarily substituted for the magazine, and, when 
centering and focusing have been completed, it is removed 
and the film magazine is put in place, again, for shooting. 

"Lens hoods," devices to shade the lens against direct rays 
of light, are often combined with holders for filters, since the 
design of these two objects encourages this combination. A 
lens hood, or shade, is a box like apparatus, especially useful 
when one is filming a back lighted subject. Sometimes it is 
attached to the lens with clamps; occasionally it is supported 
on a special bracket, fastened either to the camera or to the 
tripod. The rear of the box may be slotted, so that filters 
can be inserted. 

Diffusing devices 

Diffusion, by means of which hard lines in a picture may be 
softened, is achieved by placing a special medium before the 
lens, to break the light rays and to make the picture soft and 
hazy on the screen, to the degree that is desired. Special diffu- 
sion filters are made of various kinds of thin material, such as 
gauze, silk and mesh. Other diffusion filters are made of glass, 
on which a layer of lenticulated material has been deposited. 
Homemade diffusion devices can easily be improvised, by 


using one or more thicknesses of stocking silk, mosquito net- 
ting or other thin stuffs. Light or white material tends to 
produce a foggy effect, while dark or black textiles merely 
diffuse the image. 

Moderate diffusion is a pleasant effect, which should not be 
confused with the result of incorrect focus, a decidedly un- 
pleasant phenomenon. 

Carrying cases 

Movie makers who have acquired a variety of equipment 
may find a special carrying case for their entire outfit to be 
a useful possession. While some camera manufacturers make 
very complete cases, even these may not accommodate your 
own particular kit. 

This need may be filled by getting a special carrying case, 
built to your order by a firm specializing in such work. The 
movie maker who is handy with tools may want to make his 
own case. Inexpensive, small fiber or leather cases may be 
bought from luggage shops, and special partitions and blocks 
may be constructed within them, to suit the equipment that 
is carried. A lining of felt or corduroy, held in place by glue, 
adds neatness and durability. 



'OVIE making is a companionablt hobby. Most filmers 
want pictures of other human beings, and they like 
to show them to their friends. So, in making 
movies and in projecting them, we cannot be solitary, be- 
cause we need both subjects and audiences. 

It is natural, then, for you and your camera to look for 
wider fields than those that you have found at home. You 
leave the back yard, not forever, because you will constantly 
return to it, but to satisfy that irresistible urge to record 
what goes on beyond the fence. 

A movie camera is friendly, too. It readily unites with your 
other interests, and it can be a partner in your recreations, 
in your hobbies and in your fun. So, by all means, take it 
with you, when you go away for a day or a week end, because 
it will contribute a real share to the dividends of the trip 
and bring home a record that you can enjoy afterward. 

Filming a picnic 

There are picnics, for instance. These are simple expeditions, 
but, like everything that you record well in movie making, 
they call at least for rough film plans. Sometimes, it may be 
advisable to work out in greater detail the exact scenes that 
you want to get. The introductory sequence, for example, 
should be set forth in quite specific outline, because, at the 
film's beginning, we must both give the reason for the footage 



to follow and try, if we can contrive it, to catch the interest of 
the audience at the very outset. 

It might be planned like this. In a closeup, we see a loaf 
of bread, as a hand and knife slice it neatly. The next scene 
shows Mother spreading butter and adding ham and cheese 
to complete a sandwich, which she packs in the picnic hamper. 
Now come more closeups and semi closeups of preparations 
the cold chicken, the fruit and the cake, as deft hands pack 
them. Other members of the family are filmed, as they prepare 
for the event. Junior examines his snapshot camera; Sister 
rolls a swimming suit; Father assembles fishing rod and reel. 

We must resist the temptation to get involved in filming 
the departure, the journey and the arrival at the picnic locale. 
We have provided a sufficient introduction, and now we need 
only a method of linking our opening sequences with scenes 
of the picnic itself. We want what, in movie parlance, is called 
a "transition." 

Suppose that the last view of the preparations is a shot of 
the family assembled in the kitchen, ready for departure. 
Junior carries the hamper through the door; Mother is folding 
a blanket. The camera is moved forward, to get a closeup of 
Mother's hands. She raises her arms and, as she does so, the 
blanket obscures the entire view. The camera is then stopped. 
Another scene follows, in which the blanket alone is visible. 
Now it is shifted, in unfolding, to reveal the picnic surround- 
ings in the background. The view that follows should be a 
medium shot of the journey's goal, with Mother in the fore- 
ground, shaking the blanket. 

In another transition, an automobile might drive over the 
camera, as the family departs. This action blocks the view. 
In the next scene, the view is still blocked by the car, but, 
as it disappears, the wooded area of the picnic ground is 

The sequence that is recorded at home could finish with a 
view of the back yard, as it is seen through an open car door, 


which is closed, to end the shot. The next scene shows at first 
only the door, which opens, and we see the picnic table. 

When we reach the scene of the day's activities, we shall 
need only a well planned general idea of the different things 
that we want to film. What the picnic party's members do 
is our first consideration. Here we can show the action that 
was forecast in earlier footage. Sister swims; Junior searches 
for "candid camera shots" or what he hopes will be a pictorial 
masterpiece; Father settles himself at the water's edge with 
fishing rod and pipe. But each of these incidents must be re- 
corded in sequences. 

Junior or Father have interests that lend themselves readily 
to the "running gag," an excruciatingly named by Holly- 
wood but amusing device that can add humor, with com- 
parative safety, to footage that might, otherwise, be without 
it. This movie fun maker can be achieved very simply. One 
of the party is shown repeatedly, during the course of the film, 
engaging in some simple action, such as a wide yawn, the 
concentrated munching of an apple, tying a shoe lace or drop- 
ping a book. When this has happened six or seven times at 
intervals, apparently with no relation to anything else in tfie 
footage, it becomes ridiculous and excites real hilarity from 
the audience. If, in the last repetition, the actor does not tie 
the offending lace, but tears off the shoe and hurls it past the 
camera, the "running gag" has accomplished its full purpose. 

Our second concern deals with the real climax of the day's 
outing the picnic meal. Pictures of our friends and family 
can be made here without the handicap of camera shyness, be- 
cause everybody is too busy to bother about what he should 
do while he is filmed. Getting sequences around the picnic 
"spread" is an easy matter. You have only to caution all hands 
not to look at the camera and to pay no attention to you 
and it. 

Shoot detailed closeups of setting the table or picnic cloth; 
show the eggs and olives, the sandwiches and salads, the ice 


cream and the coffee. If steaks are to be grilled or sausages 
roasted, get the camera's nose right down to the action, so 
that moving patterns of firelight and flame will alternate with 
the sizzling goodness of the broiling bounty. 

Show somebody sniffing the tantalizing odors of the cooking 
fire and others scarcely able to refrain from attacking the feast 
to which they are not yet bidden. Then all fall to, and strip 
the board of its heaped up provender. Remember to get the 
rapturous expressions of delight which hungry city dwellers 
exhibit, when they are led to food after a day in the open. 
Semi closeups are serviceable in this filming. Finally, as a finish 
of this sequence, draw back for a medium shot, as the 
entire group relaxes in various attitudes of repletion. If, in this 
last view, we gradually close the diaphragm of the lens, until 
the scene has nearly faded, we have a good ending for the 
whole picture. 

A day's jaunt 

Picturing a day's jaunt through the countryside is another 
popular filming objective for the camera that goes traveling. 
Here our continuity structure is not so clearly marked out in 
advance as it is with the less rambling picnic film. But there 
are, nevertheless, many themes, for sequences and subject mat- 
ter, that we should keep in mind as a guide. 

A popular type of pastoral film is that in which a walk 
through woods or a climb over hills is used merely as a slight 
connecting thread, linking a series of carefully filmed scenes of 
natural beauty. We all love the bronze and gold of autumn 
foliage, fields of summer flowers or the eerie quiet of winter's 
snow. Without some connecting link of human activity, to give 
livelier interest, these things are hard to present effectively in 
motion pictures. But we can show them, as if they were seen 
by a strolling pair, and we have a serviceable continuity. 

This simple device requires thoughtful execution. It is not 
enough to film an occasional long shot or medium shot of the 


strollers, as they wander through the "view." These scenes 
should be used sparingly. 

What gives real interest are shots that are made at an up- 
ward angle, showing the wanderers as they come toward and 
pass the camera; a closeup of their feet, as they go along a 
path; a medium shot of them, resting on a hilltop, as one ges- 
tures to his companion, showing him something of interest in 
the distance; or a series of closeups, as they pause to inspect a 
flower or stone. These give the movement that is needed to 
keep the film from becoming static. 

If you happen to prefer seeing nature from a car's window, 
instead of afoot, your more extensive expedition can be pic- 
tured in much the same way as this filming stroll is handled. 
You can add scenes of the car entering woods or turning a 
curve in the road and you can show members of your group 
leaving it or returning to it. For the rest, the treatment that 
has just been outlined will suffice. 

A more important adventure 

There is the full fledged picture of mountain climbing. Here 
are no casual strollers used as a secondary theme, in what is 
primarily a study of scenic beauty. In this more specific film, 
the participants and their problems are things of paramount 
importance, while settings remain as backgrounds. Thus, our 
film of such an expedition must be planned from the begin- 
ning, as a story of action and accomplishment. In a rapid in- 
troduction, we feature such items of equipment as hobnailed 
boots, spiked alpenstocks, coiled safety ropes and carefully bal- 
anced knapsacks. 

If the party is accompanied by a pack train, we can show 
the packing also. Once on the trail, our theme is the progress 
of the group, as it winds through stream beds, climbs along 
well worn paths or slips and scrambles up rocky trails. Here 
again, a careful attention to significant closeups helps greatly 
to heighten the effect. 


Shrewd choice of viewpoint may tell the audience of difficul- 
ties and dangers that do not exist at all for the climbers, as we 
avoid showing, for example, the protecting ledge below a strug- 
gling mountaineer or a scrambling horse. 

The film progresses with the party itself, as it pauses for a 
rest here, or a brief lunch there, until, at length, the day closes 
in the quiet of an e\ ning campfire. A natural ending can be 
filmed with a series < shots of the blaze, as it gradually dies 
and fades into blackness. 

Hunting and fishing 

A movie camera does fine work with hunting and fishing 
parties. In films of these groups, our basic continuity problems 
are much the same as those that we found in filming a picnic. 
First we need a brief introduction overhauling well worn 
gear, poring over route maps, packing the car or trailer; and 
then off, down the highway! 

Here is always a good place to introduce and to identify the 
persons in the film. Next, if we want a full development of our 
theme, comes a swift transition from city to country, followed 
by the arrival at camp and the process of settling in. 

Once on the ground, we are ready for the main body of the 
film's story, which, with either rod or rifle, is basically one of 
conflict. Many films of these subjects fail in their effectiveness, 
through neglect of this essential truth. For what trout ever 
came to creel without long minutes of exciting struggle? What 
bear has dropped at a rifle's crack, shot comfortably from the 
cabin's doorstep? Good fishing and good hunting are hard 
work, a long, heartbreaking and, at last, an exhilarating con- 
flict between the hunter and the hunted. If they were not, few 
indeed would regard them as real sport. 

A good hunting or fishing film must build up this feeling of 
struggle and conflict, if it is to give a real picture of these 
sports. To do this, the cameraman must keep in mind four ele- 
ments, essential to such a record. These are the anticipation, 


suggested by preparation of rods or rifles, and ending in the 
actual start of the chase; the conflict between hunter and 
hunted, depicted in a sequence of parallel action, showing the 
pursuit by the hunter and the flight of the hunted; the con- 
tinuing frustration of all the sportsman's best efforts, as the 
game outwits him or he misses a difficult shot; the final victory 
of the hunter, which now has significance because of the diffi- 
culties he went through, to achieve it. 

This progression of scenes is not easily obtained, particularly 
if you attempt to catch them all during the actual hunt. But 
staged views are just as effective, and they can be arranged 
easily, such as medium shots of a hunter coming stealthily 
toward, and past, the camera; closeups of his feet tracking 
through underbrush; a shot, as he listens tensely, raising his 
rifle hopefully, only to lower it slowly, in disappointment; de- 
tailed closeups, as he loads, cocks or fires his rifle. 

All these can be interwoven cunningly with such footage of 
game as you can get before, during or after a hunt. This is real 
movie making, and not just an unexciting long shot of a fine 
buck or bear toppling to the ground in the far distance. 

So much for the central activity of your expedition the 
hunting or fishing. Other things, far easier to film, belong in 
such a record. One excellent amateur movie showed the joys of 
two fine weeks by a trout stream and, not once, used a foot 
of film to picture the actual fishing. But, in his movie, the 
cameraman gave real attention to sequences of such matters 
as washing and shaving, cooking and eating, smoking and 
"yaranig" around the campfire. Replete with closeups, includ- 
ing tantalizing views of frying fish, these sequences caught the 
savor of the wilderness vacation, far better than could un- 
steady distant shots of running game or fighting fish, that were 
made with a telephoto lens. Keep this in mind, when next you 
take your camera to the tall timber. 

In all these films of expeditions, if you have shown the locale 
at home during the preparations, do not repeat this, as a con- 


elusion. Doing so adds nothing to a good finish on the scene of 
chief interest, and it may bring an anticlimax. 
Filming games 

Golf invites movies, because it involves our friends in natu- 
ral action. To film a golf game, we might begin with a closeup 
of a golf club's name, that is found on a building or a flag. The 
next scene could show a medium shot, made at an upward 
angle, of a friend teeing off. After he completes his drive, we 
picture the fairway, where the ball bounces into view and 
comes to a stop. (It was tossed into the scene from outside the 
lens field.) 

The other player in the twosome tees off, and we then see 
his ball fall on the green. We could, in this way, alternate views 
of the players, while we give the high lights of their game. Try 
a slow motion scene of one player putting, or a sequence of 
him, as he makes a particularly difficult drive over a water 
hazard; but, first, film the hazard itself, so that the audience 
will be aware of the obstacle confronting him. 

Like a number of other outdoor games, tennis gives particu- 
larly fine opportunities to record our friends in action, if we 
can persuade them to stage an event for us. In a medium shot, 
taken from a side of the court, we can show Jane and Sally 
playing. Then we can get a medium shot of Jane, serving, by 
filming from Sally's side of the net. Next, we reverse the view- 
point and show Sally returning the service. (Jane served 
again, from behind the camera, so that we could make this 

Such sequences cannot be filmed during the actual playing, 
but we can make them in advance of a real game, and combine 
them with shots of the match itself, that have been made from 
the sidelines. Thus, we can create a dramatic movie treatment, 
which would be impossible of accomplishment without these 

"Faking" shots in this way is not only permissible, but it 
often presents a more realistic idea of the situation than the 



audience would get, if you filmed the actual game. By such 
devices, one can give those who look at our record a sense of 
actual presence, when they see the plays on the screen. 

In picturing any contest, from badminton to croquet, don't 
forget the spectators. Before a shot of an especially good, or 
particularly bad, play, insert a scene of somebody watching the 
game and, after showing the play, return to the spectator, 
whose facial expression will comment vividly upon the chief 
action. This kind of treatment is another device that gives the 

In filming sports of any kind, don't forget to picture the spectators. 

audience an illusion of participation. Furthermore, the human 
reaction to something good or bad is really what makes it seem 
to be good or bad. "Reaction shots," as these are called, are 
your means of introducing the human element into any game 
or contest. 

When outdoor sports or games are filmed in black and white, 
do not fail to use a filter. A white golf or tennis ball is lost in 
a white sky, but it will stand out clearly, if the sky is darkened 
by a filter. Upward angle shots of fishers and hunters, or of 
spectators at a match, are the best expedients for showing their 
intent faces, but you will also want the attractive background 
of sky and clouds that a filter can provide. 

At the seashore 

At the seashore, a wealth of sunlight conspires with the bril- 
liant reflecting surfaces of water and sand to give our subjects 
high light and shadow. Under such ideal conditions, filters of 
every density may be employed, with telling effect, in mono- 
chrome filming; the medium yellow type serves for the natural 


correction of the strong blues of sky and sea; the red is needed 
for those sparingly used dramatic shots, in which towering 
thunderheads stand out like marble against an almost black 

In such surroundings, there is much to stimulate pictorial 
imagination. Wind, wave and sun trace, everywhere, sculp- 
tured designs of rippled sand and moving patterns of restless 
water. Beach grasses provide foregrounds for scenes of the 
shore or of the dunes. Color is all around us, brilliant on the 
one hand and soft on the other; alternating these harmoniously 
in Kodachrome footage is a real test of our ability. 

The simplest scheme for a film of this subject is based on 
the story of a day at the beach. The picture may be made up 
of an introduction, the arrival and the activities, including per- 
sonalities and special high lights. Instead of beginning this rec- 
ord at home, let us start on the beach itself, with the semi 
closeup of a hand, lettering in the sand. Here is the film's main 
title and here also are introduction and arrival combined. 

In this semi closeup, as the lettering is finished, two pairs of 
feet scamper across the legend and out of the scene. Swiftly, 
the camera tilts up to follow them, and we discover a boy and 
a girl, who should be filmed in a medium shot. Close at hand, 
preferably seated, are the others in their group. 

Then the film might present sequences of leapfrog, medicine 
ball, archery or swimming, depending upon the kind of beach 
that we picture. Scenes need not be planned exactly, in ad- 
vance of shooting, but the constant interplay of medium shots 
and closeups should always be kept in mind. Later, in contrast 
to these more active incidents, we could achieve a quiet study 
of natural beauty. 

Select, from the group, a lovely girl and a well tanned boy; 
ask them to walk through scenes for you, pausing now and 
then to marvel at the strange handiwork of wind and wave and 
the oddments left, stranded by the sea, at the water's edge. 
Show the couple walking on the beach and follow this shot 
with a sequence of what they see. A challenge to your faculty 


of finding interesting things, such a sequence will long be the 
high light of your seaside film story. 

Water sports 

But there are other water sports. An entire short film might 
center around a swimming pool, to combine the action of div- 
ing and swimming with attractive shots of sun bathers, shim- 
mering water and brightly colored cabanas. Where diving is 
done from a tower and from its attendant lower boards, an 
inventive cameraman may use an entire day, in getting just the 
right positions for a smooth sequence. Low positions, with the 
camera looking upward from the pool's rim; high positions, 
achieved from the tower; side positions, in which the camera 
follows the glistening arc of a swan dive each of these plays 
a part in the sequence. 

Several dives may be filmed, and selected shots may be com- 
bined, to simulate one complete action. Thus, you may get 
scenes from various angles, picturing what purports to be one 
continuous movement. 

Slow motion adds to the beauty of breath taking turns from 
the high board. Heavy filters outline a gleaming figure against 
a darkened sky. There is much at a swimming pool, to attract 
the ambitious filmer. 

Boating and sailing provide potentially fine film subjects. 
Do not overlook the advantage of medium shots and closeups, 
that show significant objects and actors or actions. Views of 
clouds and canvas are appealing, but so are closeups of the 
compass card and of a helmsman's head or hands and semi 
closeups of the wave breaking from the cutwater and of the 
swirling wake. Such intimate detail, pictured from interesting 
angles, will win an outburst of applause from your audience. 

Back lighting is particularly effective in scenes of water and 
of most sports that have to do with water. You can use back 
lighted shots as ornaments for important sequences. For ex- 
ample, try a slow motion scene of a diver, silhouetted against 
the sunlight; catch a back lighted view of the sails of a sloop 


or yacht. You will find that, when sunlight comes from the 
rear, sails will have a brilliant and luminous quality, that is 
more striking, if the sky is darkened by a heavy filter. 

When water is back lighted, the tops of the waves "catch" 
the light in sparkling patterns. A traditionally beautiful scene 
is a shot of the path of sunlight coming toward the camera 
over a body of water. A heavy filter, used without full com- 
pensation for its factor, makes such a view appear as a moon- 
lit scene. 

Remember that back lighting is hazardous and that the sun 
must not shine directly into the lens, if you would avoid lens 
flare. A lens hood or great care in shading the lens is necessary 
for all these "effect scenes." 

Protect your camera 

When we film near water, it is easy for accidents to damage 
delicate cinematographic equipment. Unless we take care, 
sand may find its way into the camera's mechanism. Particular 
precaution must be taken, in camera loading, to offset the 
effect of blazing sunlight, as well as to protect against sand. 
Hands, adhesive from salt water or tanning oil, hold sand 
grains firmly. Friends running past, although yards away, may 
cast up a spray of sand that will cause damage. Even the pro- 
tecting camera case may shelter this enemy. 

The sun is a constant threat, and not only in the act of 
loading the camera with film. Serious harm may come to lenses 
and filters, if a camera is left lying in strong sunlight for a 
length of time. Even the camera's lubricants become thin 
under the punishing heat, with the danger of dry bearings and 
of oil on the film. Condensing salt sea air is another menace. 
It should be wiped carefully and frequently from lenses, filters 
and camera, whenever its presence is detected. 

Winter movies 

When the sun shines and skies are clear, winter serves film- 
ing as well as summer, and most winter sports are so excel- 


lently adapted to movie making that they seem to have been 
devised especially for it. 

You can give family movies a new "twist," by including 
winter scenes. Perhaps your boys are building a snow man, 
which can provide the topic for a whole film. Or a snow battle 
may be recorded. For this, take a medium shot of snowballs 
flying fast, from the defenses of the snow fort; reverse the 
viewpoint, to show the barrage aimed at the defenders. Re- 
verse it again, to show one of the defenders, struck full in the 
face by a snowball. (This shot would, of course, be staged.) 

This victim singles out a snow missile and hurls it past the 
camera. The next scene shows an attacker, trying to dodge 
the projectile, and this should be followed by one, taken from 
the defender's point of view, that shows a ball flying straight 
at the lens and, apparently, striking it. The final scene of the 
sequence reveals a boy, whose face is seen, in laughter, through 
the snow that was left on it from a bull's eye shot. 

The scene of a snowball striking the lens is, like most tricks, 
very simple. A sheet of glass is held just in front of the camera, 
and the snowball a soft one reaches this, and not the lens 

A sequence of youngsters on skis or skates will enliven a 
"year round" family film, in which the calendar is followed, as 
a major continuity motive. Adult skiing is worth a whole 

Begin the ski movie with a sequence of semi closeups and 
closeups of preparations; skis are waxed, fitted to feet and 
buckled in place. 

If the party goes to the ski run by special train, you could 
precede this sequence of preparation by shots of the group en- 
tering the train and by views, taken on the way, of impatient 
individuals, making ready for skiing. Fast film permits you 
to get interior train shots easily, especially if a blanket of snow 
reflects sunlight into the cars. 

When you reach the run, show skiers climbing to the top or 
riding ski tows to reach it. From a ski tow, you may be able 


to make an excellent traveling camera shot, but be sure to 
point the camera ahead or behind, rather than to one side. 

For the down hill sequence, station yourself at a turn, to 
film the skiers rushing past you. Get a view from another posi- 
tion and, if possible, a long shot of a ski party. Then catch 
scenes of various turns and jumps, to the extent that your 
time and film, and the skill of your subjects, will permit. 

To finish the reel, ask a skier to make a turn or a stop, in 
front of the camera; this will cause a shower of white snow, 
which will be shown very attractively on the screen. Take a 
back lighted view of this action, and you will have an episode 
that is always satisfying to your audience. 

Winter sports, like water sports, call for the use of slow 
motion; sequences may also be ornamented successfully by 
side lighted and back lighted shots. Flat lighting on snow al- 
ways produces a dull picture; side lighting is needed to bring 
out its texture. Remember, too, that a white landscape on the 
screen will be indistinguishable from a white sky; so, a filter 
must be used with black and white film, if the sky is blue. In 
fact, it is a good rule never to make a black and white record 
of winter views or sports on a clear day, unless a filter is 

Clear days are best for winter scenes in black and white 
or in color but, on a gray day, color film will give an attrac- 
tive result, while black and white emulsions will not. The 
soft tones of such a day may be very beautiful in a color scene, 
although they will be flat, in a black and white sequence. 

Filming our town 

The things we have been considering are, in a way, special 
events. Most of us want, now and then, to film the ordinary 
things of our experience, and, perhaps, our own town. So, why 
not answer, on film, the question, where do you live? First, 
show your geographical location in the surrounding country- 
side; then go on to details of the town itself, and finally, to 


achieve the climactic sequences of the picture, record your own 
neighborhood and home. 

You could plan a film of your town and could extend the 
actual shooting over the period of a year or more, keeping your 
eyes open, during that time, for the best possible shots 
parades, anniversaries, elections or the construction of a new 
post office. You can get pictures of the town's prominent citi- 
zens at work and at play. 

The advantage of making such a film at leisure lies in the 
fact that, besides collecting the best possible scenes, you can 
augment footage, already recorded, with further views that 
explain the action at greater length. Thus, the arrival of a local 
boy from the city could be supplemented, at some later time, 
by scenes of a locomotive's wheels grinding to a stop and of 
passengers descending from the train. 

Really interesting movies, of course, deal with people and 
people who do something. You might contrast two types of 
work or the way of life in one part of the town with that in 
another. You might go about your streets shooting sequences 
of people, busy at different occupations, which would follow 
the title, Men at work. 

When you make "candid" shots footage of those who are 
unaware of the camera a telephoto lens is a useful accessory. 
With it, you can film from an unobtrusive doorway, across the 
street, and get, for example, semi closeups of old women hag- 
gling over the price of fish, of a vigorous discussion on a street 
corner or of the foreman of a road gang shouting orders to his 
men. The unposed shot has a disadvantage, however; the 
movements of your subject, being unpredictable, are not al- 
ways easy to keep in the viewfinder's field. 

When you have posed a group of persons and come to re- 
hearse the action, give all of them something to do. Beware of 
long pauses, while you determine exposure or search for a cam- 
era viewpoint. If these occur, you will lose the enthusiasm of 
cooperation from your subjects. Arrange the scene, if only in 
your mind's eye, beforehand; calculate exposure on the run. 


You must keep your subjects busy, which will keep you busy, 

It is possible to work out a sequence on the spur of the 
moment, by considering the scene as a problem in question 
answering. Aunt Hattie is watering flowers on the lawn. The 
three questions where, what, how answered visually, will 
give you a sequence. Thus, where will show the house and the 
lawn, with Aunt Hattie, a small figure in the foreground; what 
will show Aunt Hattie, in a medium shot, watering flowers; 
and how will reveal her hand and the flowers, in a semi closeup, 
as she goes about her business. 

It is as simple as that. The camera may have "stepped out" 
in this chapter, but it has not stepped far, and many of the 
best subjects lie under our noses, in the everyday things of 
our lives. 


THERE are three convenient basic schemes for travel 
and vacation movies, but, from each of these, we can 
evolve a great many highly effective continuity treat- 
ments. The three call for brief statement. 

You may film a holiday, by showing how you get to its 
location. Thus, if you go by automobile, you can use your 
car, to link one place with another; a steamer, a train or an 
airplane can serve the same purpose. Or you can omit the 
vehicle entirely and use maps, on which a finger, a crayon 
or an animated moving line points out the route. You may 
join both schemes in one film and show how you traveled, 
and where. 

You can present the place that was visited, without telling 
how it was reached, and save film by so doing. You may record 
the beauty and interest of the Grand Canyon or of Yellow- 
stone Park; you may study the ways of birds, off the Cali- 
fornia coast, or show how people live in Hollywood or in 
Guatemala, without any footage of your journey. If you 
have an imperative urge to add something of your route 
adventures to this type of picture, you can satisfy it by 
filming a brief opening sequence, in quick tempo. 

Finally, your personal Odyssey can serve as a central theme, 
if you have a helpful companion who can record you. A honey- 
moon is often filmed from this general viewpoint. There is golf, 
swimming, sight seeing, riding or luxurious lazing in the sun. 
What the two of you do is the important concern, and the 



journey and the novel sights at its end are but incidentals. 

Of course, these film plans need not be mutually exclusive, 
and many vacation records will combine several, or all, of 

So much for generalities. Now, let us break these down into 
serviceable detail. 

Films that show how we travel 

A popular introduction to films, that use the method of 
travel as continuity, is a series of short scenes that show 
folders of railways, steamship lines and vacation resorts, in 
a variety of interesting patterns. These folders are shuffled 
until, at last, hands select one, and the camera moves back- 
ward, to present the central personage of the film you, per- 
haps relaxed in an easy chair, with pipe and pencil, all set 
to plan. 

Maps and pencil come into play, in the consideration of 
various routes; at last, one is chosen, and the maps are gath- 
ered up. Now we see luggage, packed and ready to be taken 

If you are going by ship, you can show the bags in closeup, 
revealing a steamer tag, which connects the departure with 
the travel folders. The departure itself should be only a 
further development of the introduction. This must not spin 
out into tedious footage, because it should launch the picture, 
and not sink it. We need but a few brief scenes the crowded 
gangplank, the warning whistle, the waving crowd, the tugs, 
the wharf slipping back, the screws turning in midstream 
and, last, a shot of the wake boiling astern, as the scene 
slowly fades out. The journey has begun. 

Traveling by motor 

Likewise, in filming a motor trip, the introduction can quick- 
ly record somebody stowing the bags and checking the mileage 
dial, the goodbyes, a momentary failure of the motor to start, 
dismay on the faces of the passengers, then relief, as it roars 


into life. Finish this sequence with a staged shot, as the car 
goes down the street and turns a corner. 

Once it is neatly begun, the continuity of your motor jour- 
ney should not be difficult. You might lead off with a title, 
It may be a long way to Tipperary, but how jar is it to Cali- 
fornia?, and follow with scenes of the car in different sur- 
roundings, as you go on your way, and with shots of mileage 
posts and closeups of the flickering speedometer or of a spin- 
ning car wheel. (You can get this one while the car is motion- 
less, by jacking up the rear axle.) Now, the driver changes 
place with somebody else, for a needed rest. 

Emphasizing the continual progress of the trip will convince 
the audience that you are actually going somewhere, and that 
you are not presenting shots of incidental scenery, with no 
definite objective. This illusion of progress can be heightened, 
in many stationary shots, by using the car as a part of the 
foreground; the vehicle can also be shown in front of road 
signs, hotels and wayside inns. 

A motor journey's footage can be amplified by staging shots, 
after the vacation has ended, to serve as additional continuity 
links. Suppose that we needed (or wanted) a scene of "the 
mister" at the wheel. Very well, then; let him sit at the wheel 
of the stationary car, while you, through the open door and 
from a low position, that will exclude all but his figure, the 
wheel, the window and the sky, shoot him, as he honks an im- 
aginary vehicle out of the way, extends his arm and turns the 
wheel, as if to pass. After that, you have only to convince the 
neighbors that the master of the house is still in his right 

In the same way, you can film missing connectives for your 
continuity, by taking the car to some seldom used byway, 
near home, where you may stage a little sequence of blowout 
and repair, during the course of which Aunt Matilda collects 
such an enormous spray of dogwood from the neighboring 
forest that nobody can manage to stow it and her in the car. 

In the privacy of this solitude, you can also get one shot 


which no film of this type should lack. Set the camera on the 
road, at a slight, upward angle, depress the button in its fixed 
position and leave it. Just afterward, the car is driven toward 
and over the instrument. The driver must have good eyesight 
and steady nerves and the camera must be firmly placed. The 
result on the screen is one that we all know. Be sure to wipe 
any dust or oil off the lens, later. 

Filming trains 

Trains are excellent movie subjects. A whole film can cen- 
ter around a train journey. But, since ours is a vacation pic- 
ture, let the train sequences be only an important part of a 
more inclusive effort. Our departure is handled much as we 
have done with motor car and steamer. 

We shall probably go down, when we get home again, to 
our local railway station, to film the engineer of Number Five 
climbing into his cab, the conductor signaling, the porter with- 
drawing and retrieving after him the little portable steps of 
his trade, and finally the locomotive's wheels, as they slowly 
revolve and move majestically away. You will have a clever 
addition to this footage of the porter if you can, on the jour- 
ney itself, show him, from within the car's vestibule, drop- 
ping the floor trap and closing the door, after his steps have 
been taken in. Spliced after the footage that you will get later 
at home, this completing shot will give your movie a nicety 
that other filmers will appreciate and applaud, because it 
shows intelligent planning in advance. 

The illumination in a railway coach is ample for filming 
with extra fast emulsions, if the day is reasonably bright. Try 
shooting the landscape through the window, with the sil- 
houette of somebody lighting a cigarette in the foreground. At 
some way station, film this same passenger from the outside, 
through the glass. 

When the train is in motion, you must (and there is no 
exception) shoot from a support. This may be a tripod, the 
jamb of a door or the top of a coach seat, but it must be 



something solidly connected with the body of the train itself. 
A very simple, short sequence, easy to secure in a film of 
this kind, might be planned like this: 

Semicloseup. Silhouette, taken inside, of a passenger gaz- 
ing from the window. 

Long shot. The train, filmed by holding the camera 

close to the window glass, but pointed ahead, 
to show the engine and leading cars going 
round a curve. 

Long shot. The outskirts of a small town, filmed by 

holding the camera close to the window glass, 
pointed forward. 

Semi long shot. Of a part of the station platform, after the 
train has stopped. This is filmed from the 
car window. 

Medium shot. Of the station sign, which shows distances 
to both terminals of the line. (A telephoto 
lens may be helpful here.) 

Semicloseup. The conductor near a car step. (Go outside 
for this.) 

Long shot. The receding track, from the rear observa- 

tion platform. 

Make a real effort to get scenes of a train presumably 
yours, as far as the audience is concerned. From a convenient 
location, record the last two or three cars, as they pass you. 
Then, scramble rapidly to the center of the track, after the 
observation car has gone by, and film the train disappearing, 
in diminishing perspective, into the distance. The audience 


Instead of making a panorama of a distant view, take separate 

scenes. Note how readily the landscape may be divided into 

steady, separate shots. 

Lewis B. Sebring, jr., ACL 

Georgre Tasso, ACL 

Wherever you spend your vacation, you 
can film action, human interest and scenic 
beauty, as did these amateur movie makers. 


Laurence S. 
jr., ACL 

Goeben, ACL 

Charles R. 
Dobbins, ACL 

Goeben, ACL 

John C. 
Jay, ACL 



will, if you are agile enough, have the curious sensation of 
the camera's having been transfixed by the train itself. This 
shot is a good finish for an entire section of your picture, as it 
always gives a definite effect of finality. 

These train sequences are the thread of continuity for a 
travel movie of the first basic type, but they should not 
usurp all the footage that might be devoted to places and in- 
cidents, as the journey is broken by shorter or longer pauses. 
But, since we are dealing with a vacation record in which 
how we progress is more important than where we are going, 
the train is never to be forgotten. 

A useful and simple trick should not be overlooked in train 
filming. In it, we record the track, as it is seen from the rear 
observation platform, receding from the camera, but we film 
it with the camera held upside down. This scene, when it has 
been spliced into the reel later, but reversed, end for end, 
will give you the familiar reverse motion, and you will have 
created the illusion of seeing the countryside from the front of 
the locomotive. 

Filming in the air 

Air filming differs from train filming, only because the space 
is more limited and because you cannot get outside, on a 
cloud, to show the airplane going past. There is often less mo- 
tion, to prevent shooting from the hand, but the good rule for 
all movie making from vehicles remains valid here, too, and 
you should rest the camera on something connected with the 
airplane itself. Illumination in the cabin is ample, during the 
daytime, to achieve good exposures with extra fast film. 

Record the stewardess, as she prepares dinner in her cubby- 
hole kitchen. Film a passenger eating; let him poise a fork in 
mid air, as he catches sight of something outside the window; 
later, splice in a number of views from aloft, to be projected 
before we return to his midday meal. Don't forget the little 
electric sign that flashes on Please adjust your safety belts 
to be shown in sequences of taking off and of landing. 


Movie makers will find it better, in modern transport air- 
planes, to sit in rear seats, where the view beneath is least 
obstructed by the low wing. Remember and here is an im- 
portant point for all travel filming that it is advisable to 
include a part of the airplane's structure in the foreground. 
This inclusion establishes in the minds of your audience the 
location from which the picture was taken. Without it, for all 
they can see, you were like Mohammed's coffin, in the legend 
suspended between the upper and nether worlds. 

When you are filming from an airplane, check your exposures 
with a meter, because certain safety glasses, used for airplane 
windows, reduce light. Employ a yellow filter with black and 
white emulsions. It will reduce atmospheric haze and will 
also add cloud forms to your sky views. A haze filter for 
Kodachrome is a matter of personal preference, since some 
movie makers like the blue tones that it filters out. To reduce 
the airplane's speed to coherent visibility, in scenes of landing 
and of taking off, film these, if possible, at thirty two frames a 

You can, of course, return to the airport later, as you did 
to the railway station, to film these takeoffs and landings and 
all the details of "checking out a plane," which you probably 
missed in the actual departure. 

Ocean voyages 

An ocean voyage offers the most extensive opportunity for 
a vacation film that has, as its principal theme, the method of 
travel. The simplest continuity for shipboard movies is chron- 

After the sequences of departure these have been described 
earlier have ended with a fade out, you could use a title, 
Southward Ho! Fair and warmer, after which you might fade 
in on a shot of the ship's bell. It strikes four times six o'clock. 
Sunrise is filmed, either in the background or as a separate 
scene, and you go on at once to shots of sailors washing the 
decks, a sequence in which you should be able to get excellent 



closeups. The light will be less good, of course, so watch your 

Go, then, to breakfast in the dining room. Film that ex- 
ceedingly nautical detail, the round beam of sunlight from a 
port hole, as it swings leisurely, back and forth, across the 
table, with the movement of the ship, throwing brilliant high 
lights on glass and silver. Show the sea and the morning sky 
through this port hole, to achieve a transition to the upper 
decks and the morning games. Catch the determined health 
"hound," as he tramps vigorously for his mileage, bringing in 
closeups of his walking feet, the "do or die" look on his face 
and the people in deck chairs, who watch him with varying 
expressions of amusement. 

The ever present deck game of shuffleboard can be given a 
more extended sequence. 

Medium shot. 
Semi closeup. 
Semi long shot. 


Semi long shot. 


Semi closeup. 


A player comes forward with his shovel 

Player, with an expression of "I can't 
miss," looks confidently past the camera. 

Player, in foreground. Scorer is seen in the 
other court, in background. 

Expression of derision on scorer's face. 
Player, in foreground, shoots. 
Scorer's head, as his eyes follow the chuck. 
The chuck crashes among the others. 

It careens into the scorer's ankle. (It is, of 
course, directed from beyond camera 

Medium shot. The scorer jumps with pain. 


Serving the mid morning bouillon can be pictured entirely 
in medium closeups and closeups, including one that shows 
the miniature sea of dregs in a discarded cup, tilting with the 
motion of the ship. Immediately after this might come a long 
shot of the restless ocean, by way of contrasting comment. 
Here is a good place for the introduction of a series of views 
of sea patterns, to show the Seltzer like wake of the screws, 
the discharge of white condenser water into the sea, the tip 
of the mast, quartering the sky, the swaying rigging, the wind 
rippled pool of water on a hatch top, and tropical jellyfish, 
churned to fragments in the bow wave all of them, familiar, 
but seldom pictured, sights of an ocean voyage. 

In rough weather, get several long shots, with the ship as 
foreground and the sea as the main feature, but keep the 
horizon level, while the vessel tosses and rolls. This feat is 
accomplished by centering the scene in the viewfmder, in the 
usual way, and by concentrating your attention on the back- 
ground, which you keep horizontal by balancing your body 
against the ship's roll, so that the true, and giddy, motion of 
the ship, in the foreground, will be revealed. 

Films that show where we go 

A different plan for the continuity of vacation movies is 
used if you want to film only the place to which you go. This 
might cover a visit to Niagara Falls. The first step, in planning 
a movie of this type, is to divide it, on paper, into the various 
broad groups of things that you want to include. Such a divi- 
sion might read: 

a. aspects of the falls themselves. 

b. the river banks and scenes near the falls. 

c. a journey on the familiar Maid of the Mist. 

d. the river above the falls and the Whirlpool Rapids 

Knowing what we want to record, we can plan our con- 
tinuity. Often, a single title wording may come to mind that 
will suggest a continuity theme for the whole reel. Thus, 


Everything at Niagara foretells the great falls gives an ap- 
proach to a film of this natural wonder, in which the falls come 
as a climax, toward which all other footage leads. In this 
scheme, items 6, c and d would precede a. 

This picture could begin with a scene of mist, creeping 
through the leaves of a tree at the river's edge, and go on with 
a series of short similar scenes, taken along the bank. Then 
would come shots of the power plants and of several of the 
street signs, in the neighboring city, that refer to the falls. 

Next, we could show visitors aboard the Maid of the Mist, 
with closeups of their faces, gazing upward; we could catch 
the bow wave and, again, the creeping mist. Somebody throws 
a cigarette into the water; somebody else, above the falls, 
throws another one, which drifts away, whirling down river. 
Now comes a sequence, in mounting tempo, of the rapids, as 
they grow wilder and more turbulent, until, finally, they rush 
over the edge of the falls. This sequence introduces the main 
portion of the film, in which we follow the general plan. 

Filming waterfalls 

Slow motion adds weight and immensity to a body of fall- 
ing water. Filters are also invaluable, because they darken the 
sky, behind the mass of water, and cause it to stand out with 
startling distinctness. A fine shot of a waterfall will show it 
from below, with the camera looking up, so that the lip of the 
falls seems to overhang. The sky behind, filled with drifting 
clouds, will give a counter movement to the descending water. 

Side lighting and back lighting are particularly striking in 
scenes of masses of water in violent motion. The geysers at 
Yellowstone National Park are admirable subjects for this 
type of illumination. Of course, filters are essential; without 
them, the flying water will fail to stand out from the sky. 

If you have cautiously refrained from tilting your camera, 
you will find, in scenes of waterfalls, one of the few justifica- 
tions for this procedure. You have the choice of following the 
falls from the bottom to the top, or of reversing the motion. 


But do not add one action to the other, because you will de- 
stroy the effect that the first tilt has built up. There is little 
choice, although tilting downward is, perhaps, more logical. Be 
sure, in either case, to go to the very top or to the absolute 
bottom, so that the fully completed motion will give the audi- 
ence a feeling of definite ending in the scene. 

Continuity for travel films 

Continuity themes for travel films are often developed 
around a single idea. Thus, with the West Indies, one could 
choose, as a continuity motive, the theme of colonial life and 
its interisland contrasts. A title, In Trinidad, the long arm of 
British law turns black, might preface footage of a colored, 
West Indian "bobby" on Frederick Street. Likewise, Clerical 
costumes agree with faces in French Haiti and Dutch Curasao 
could be followed by scenes of the fathers going about their 
manifold colonial tasks. 

A very easy and effective method of recording subjects, 
without their knowledge, is to film them from a parked motor 
car, because few passers by will notice you, if you are sitting 
in the shade. Another expedient is to conceal the camera in- 
side one of the large straw hats that are so common and so 
inexpensive in many regions. 

But, filmed openly or "on the sly," people are the important 
items. How they live, what they do, where they work these 
are the things that you must get, if your movie is to have life 
and if it is to repay your audience for sitting through it. 

A "please" and a "thanks," obvious as they may seem, are 
still the best way of winning cooperation. Naturally, the 
poorer inhabitants like to receive some small tip, as well, but 
it should be given with grace and courtesy, as a secret, not as 
as a public, gesture. When somebody is unwilling to pose, it 
may be necessary only to jingle a few coins in your hand dis- 
creetly. If he still refuses, drop the matter. Personal pride is 
everybody's privilege. 



Atmosphere in a travel film is achieved by two main devices 
one, the choice of subject matter and the other, the direc- 
tion of light. The first consideration is not so unlimited as one 
might think. If you try to choose scenes that include only 
local color, you will find your field of selection greatly re- 
stricted and your results greatly improved. Avoid jutting 
corners of modern buildings, when the foreground is a native 
market; guard against long shots with unwanted items. 

In considering the direction of light, you will discover, by 
keeping your eyes open, that certain illuminations enhance a 
mood, while others spoil it. Early morning light may add di- 
mension to coin divers in a harbor and utterly ruin a street 
scene in a town. A flat, midday lighting will add contours and 
relief to the latter, but the submerged divers will have a pasty 
and one dimensional appearance. 

People to drive home this point are the really impor- 
tant subjects. If you go ashore in a tender, why not film the 
boatman, who will pose for you, his face to the wind, his hand 
on the tiller? And why not get a closeup of that hand, gnarled 
and worn, as it turns the wooden stick? Then shoot the faces 
of your fellow passengers, as they gaze ahead expectantly. 
Move forward and show the man with the boat hook, as he 
waits to catch the craft at the dock; add a closeup of the bow 
wave diminishing, as the motor is cut off. Finish this sequence 
with a closeup of passengers' feet, as they mount the steps to 
the new world above. 

You can go on, then, to some interesting views of the port 
town, but, when you have established the locale in this way, 
search for semi closeups, that show people buying curios in 
the shops, chartering carriages for a ride into the "back coun- 
try," exploring the remoter byways all subjects of ample 
opportunity for significant detail, such as cobblestones, signs 
in shop windows or coconuts for sale. 

Such footage is often unpredictable, but you will find it 
more easily, if you look for it. You know, for example, that 


two sequences of Bermuda, that show Hamilton and St. 
George, must be connected by transition scenes, to identify 
the method of transportation. So, you make a point of filming 
the members of your party as they embark in a carriage, add- 
ing a closeup of their feet mounting the step, to be followed 
by a scene of the driver's hand taking the whip from its socket, 
after which a long shot shows the carriage going away. By 
filming the vehicle, as it enters St. George, with, perhaps, a 
brief preceding scene of the countryside en route, the transi- 
tion is achieved, and there will be no worries, later, on the 
editing table. 

Are you driving to Florida in midwinter? Why not use the 
idea of contrasted weather, as a basic theme for a film? Cold 
to warm; bare elms to verdant palms; ice skating to swim- 
ming; blanketed horses to floating rubber steeds; steam radia- 
tors to electric fans; furs to Palm Beach suits all contribute 
to an amusing movie. But you must plan this procedure before 
you leave home, so that you can choose scenes on the way, to 
prove your point. 

Filming what you do 

Perhaps your film is to deal just with you and her, and 
everything else will become mere setting. You can open it 
with a short sequence of golf, swimming, tennis, sun bathing, 
diving, and what not, and then go on to develop these activi- 
ties at greater length. 

Why not divide your personal vacation reel into sections, 
devoting each of them to the special interests of yourself and 
your companion? Thus a title, Joseph spends the summer 
afternoons with Royal Coachmen, would be followed by a se- 
quence of him, casting a fly into the riffle of some mountain 
stream. When Joseph has tangled his line in the bushes and 
when his companion has spent fifteen feet of film in getting it 
free, there is a second title, Elsa is another Compleat Angler, 
and she is shown, prone in the corral, getting an angled pho- 
tograph of a cowboy, while he saddles a pony. 


To help us to plan films in advance, it is easy to make a 
collection of travel folders and guide books. A study of them 
will reveal many subjects of interest and many themes for 
sequences; the photographs may offer ideas for views of well 
known local features. One movie maker made a fine study of 
Port Royal, in Jamaica, after he discovered, in a biography 
of Morgan the pirate, that remnants of the old city still exist, 
five minutes away from Kingston. These booklets are invalu- 
able, later, for identifying scenes and for titling. 

A travel movie need not always be a record, without any 
expression of opinion. Although doing this calls for genuine 
skill, a film may be made from a basis of personal prejudice. 
The basis may be selected in advance, from preconceived no- 
tions, or it can be chosen after arrival. 

Do you really dislike the place? Show why. Do you believe 
that the natives' lot, like that of policemen in Penzance, is not 
a happy one? Prove it on film. Turn disapproval into visual 
argument, distaste into screen demonstration. If you are fond 
of the place, reverse the theme. 

Good fortune, then, or bad is your subject matter. Suppose 
that it rains, most of the time. Film the rain and make a point 
of it. After a few sunny views, a title would remark, But pres- 
ently, of course , and subsequent scenes would show gath- 
ering storm clouds, rain pattering in the dust, everybody fly- 
ing for shelter and, finally, the downpour. 

You watch the rain despondently, until a great idea emerges, 
and you quickly seize the camera. You show concentric rings 
in the puddles streets, slicked down and shiny natives, 
rushing pell mell for protection, or huddled under trees the 
spray from tires, as they roll over cobblestones sodden, drip- 
ping leaves. A film in a thousand! 

And, just about then, the sun comes out. 


IN FILMING public gatherings, we have a double objec- 
First, and most obviously, we must get scenes of the cen- 
tral event itself be it a football game, a parade or a country 
fair. But, second, and equally important, are the people who 
come to see these events, and we must film them en masse, 
in small groups and as individuals. 

An audience does not merely contribute to the excitement 
of any great festival; it actually is the festival, for a great 
many who go to see it. If anybody doubts this, let him imagine 
the flatness and boredom of a World's Series baseball game 
played to empty stands. The first caution in successful public 
event filming is, Remember reaction shots! 

A football game 

Consider football, for instance. We know that half the fun 
of a big game is the color and excitement surrounding it. Yet, 
it is easy to forget this, in a stadium, with a camera. 

Let us keep it in mind, at least, for a brief introduction 
which heralds the main event. Make this progressive, working 
from details and closeups to scenes that disclose the situation 
more fully. The tempo, at first, is very fast, but, as more is 
included in the viewfinder, the speed is reduced, to let our 
film audience observe the expanding action, in more detail. 

Shooting directions for such an introduction could specify 
a progression to show: closeup of a poster announcing the 



game; closeup of hands exchanging money for tickets (and 
be sure to use "stage money," to avoid tangling with stat- 
utes); semi closeup of a boy and girl buying programs or 
feathers, decorated in the colors of their college, from a ven- 
dor; medium shot of the dense crowd coming toward the 
camera; medium shot of the crowd, as it goes through the 
gates; semi long shot of the thousands, as they find seats (in- 
cluding only one section of the stadium and keeping the action 
still relatively close) ; medium shot, from a high position, look- 
ing down an aisle, as two friends reach their seats; semi close- 
up, as they buy peanuts, examine programs and then stare at 
the field in happy anticipation; semi long shot of the opposing 
teams running out on the field, while the cheer leaders go 
mad. Here are nine short scenes, yet, with their aid, we have 
got down to the day's business and have shown the thou- 
sands who are with us. 

Now comes the game itself. If you have been lucky and 
provident, your seats are on the west side of the field (putting 
the sun behind you) and fairly high. A movie maker with 
only a usual lens will find his best position, much nearer 
to the field. But, for the very best results, go high, if you 
have a telephoto lens, and take a unipod with you. At least, 
use a breast strap support with this lens, or your screen results 
will be unhappy. Tripods are pretty generally frowned on, 
both officially and unofficially, at football games, unless you 
have a reservation in the last row of seats. 

If black and white is your film, let it be the fastest obtain- 
able, for the increased speed will be a boon in boring into 
late afternoon shadows or in facilitating the use of slow cam- 
era speeds (twenty four and thirty two frames a second). 
But, if you cling to color and who doesn't, for such colorful 
activities? plan most of your shooting for the early, sunlit 
parts of the game. 

So much for the important technical preparations. There are 
considerations, no less ponderable, that will affect, in large 
measure, the successful choice of subject matter. These have 


to do with the scenes of football action that you will select 
and with your method of selecting them. Any football enthu- 
siast knows that, by and large, line bucks are least dramatic, 
while end runs, pass plays and punts are a constant source of 
action and excitement. 

But how shall we select them, when valuable film is at 
stake? One of the best ways is to study the players in advance, 
so that you may know what plays are proverbially successful, 
when they make them. Is Number Ten, of the home team, 
hailed as a forward passer? Is Number Twenty Three, for the 
visitors, a galloping ghost around the ends? Then, during the 
first quarter of the game, study the formations for these plays, 
to be ready for them in the rest of the game. When you see 
a good chance for a pass, begin shooting at the huddle and 
hold the button down until the play is grounded. Only in 
this way can you hope to avoid those irritating and irresolute 
results that give but a part of an exciting play. A good foot- 
ball record does not invite film economy. 

As the afternoon passes, the field is likely to be divided into 
sharply defined areas of light and shadow. This situation calls 
for quick exposure changes, as the play shifts from one area to 
the other. You may encounter rain, which does not prevent 
filming but which demands care, in protecting valuable equip- 
ment from damage. Some professional football filmers have 
gone to elaborate lengths in "rain proofing" their cameras. 

Human interest 

Between the high points of field action, turn your attention 
once again to human interest and to reaction shots. Don't 
worry about their order. They can be put into effective po- 
sition later. Here are some of the many scenes that help: a 
long shot across the rows of seats, as the great crowd rises, 
en masse, in a burst of cheering; a medium shot of persons near 
you, in an exciting moment; a semi closeup of your friends, 
as they belabor each other in frenzy (staged, if necessary); 
medium shots and closeups of the peanut, "pop," and "hot 


dog" salesmen; long or medium shots of the cheer leaders and 
their antics. Touchdown plays are essential; score board shots 
make fine titles and advance the story of the conflict, while 
the ceremonies between the halves are a "must" for any foot- 
ball movie. 

For your conclusion, wait until the crowd begins to pour 
out on the field, in a dance of victory. Shoot sparingly in a 
long shot, and then try to catch as close a view as you can, 
with safety to the camera, when the goal posts finally give 
way. Show a scene of the happy, exhausted spectators wan- 
dering from the field, and end on a short sequence of the 
emptied stadium, to include a long shot of it all, followed by 
a semi closeup, showing a litter of tattefed programs. 

Filming a parade 

The plans and problems of filming other public events are 
similar to those of our football movie. Parades are popular, 
but pictures of them are often disappointing, for they lack 
a background of preparation. "What's all the shootin* for? 
What's being celebrated, anyway?" As we noted in Chapter V, 
the introduction is all important. 

In filming the parade itself, there are a number of points 
to keep in mind. First in importance is the matter of position. 
The serious cinematographer will discover, in advance, the 
exact route and go over it at a time of day, as close as possible 
to that of the event, to determine light conditions. For color 
shooting, he will decide on a camera position that gives front 
lighting, at the best, side lighting, if it must be, and back 
lighting, rarely. For monochromatic film, such exact care need 
not be taken, but the cameraman should keep in mind the 
standard rule of exposing for the shadows, if they are deep. 
Good lighting must be the first consideration. 

When there is choice of equally well lighted spots, a position 
at a corner, which is opposite to that around which the parade 
will turn, gives excellent results. Safety islands, in the centers 
of broad streets, are shooting positions made to order, if you 


are permitted to use them. Second or third story windows 
along the line of march are advantageous, but a telephoto 
lens is advised for scenes that are made from them. 

Wherever you are, there is one positive rule of parade film- 
ing: Avoid shooting action that takes place at right angles to 
the line of sight of your lens. This action is always too speedy 
for the relatively slow shutter of your movie camera, which 
cannot smooth it out. The result of such a shot will be a bad 
case of "jitters." Moving objects, wherever we film them, are 
more safely pictured when they are either coming toward or 
going from the camera, at an acute angle. 

So they pass, rank after rank, float after float. Although 
it is the supposed essence of color and excitement, a parade 
in movies, at least soon becomes dull and monotonous. The 
action is repetitious, and breaks are needed between the simi- 
larity of advancing groups. 

So, human interest shots become a double essential, serv- 
ing both as interludes and as an important feature of the 
show itself. Catch them, as opportunity offers, and put them 
into their proper place later. Shoot the crowds in medium shot 
and closeup. Get souvenir salesmen and balloon hawkers, 
"cops" and children, flag wavers and popcorn eaters. 

Built up a "running gag," if you like, of an attractive young- 
ster, seated on the curb, with eager eyes and an insatiable 
appetite. Come back to him, now and then, as the action lags, 
and use him to end the film the last, and still hopeful, spec- 
tator. If you buy the ice cream, he will provide the humor, 

Other events 

Race meets make good movies, whether they feature men, 
animals or machines. Not too much freedom is available at 
any of these, in moving about, to film the main events, but 
we can enliven our records with plenty of human interest. Try 
to get behind the scenes, at various times, before the race. 
Show the training and preparations. Look ahead to the ac- 


tions of the race and try to stage now, for your camera, some 
exciting closeups and medium shots that will be put into the 
film, later the starter's pistol, the tense crouch of the cox- 
swain, the flash of pounding hoofs in the track. Just before 
the actual race, authentic bits of atmosphere may be obtained 
near the betting booths, in the cars of the crew train and in 
the viewing stands. Using these as an introduction, and as con- 
trast, during the meet, you will achieve a more convincing 
record of the main event. 

In all contests, the method of alternating shots is service- 
able, to indicate rivalry. One boat is seen, with the aid of a 
telephoto lens, while its crew strains every muscle, to gain 
advantage. We cut to a scene of the opposing crew, even more 
tensed for victory. 

The familiar amusement park is a movie setting. Here, 
there is an impression of everything happening at once, with 
plenty of noise and excitement. Instead of a single event, oc- 
curring in ordered progression, dozens beckon on every side. 
To suggest them, some cameramen, having more specialized 
equipment, will ornament their presentation with a variety 
of multiple exposures and other devices of distraction, inter- 
woven with the main flow of the film. 

But the simplest camera can catch a series of brief, reveal- 
ing closeups and can employ the interesting angles that go far, 
in telling the story. To tie these shots together, take your 
youngster to the park and turn him loose. Follow his ideas 
of what is interesting and film what he sees, with his willing 
cooperation. But, while you record his actions, against the 
background of merry go round, giant swing and "shoot the 
chutes," don't forget the importance of the surrounding 
human interest, the crowds, the "barkers," the food and the 

Country fairs are worth a visit with your camera. As an in- 
troduction, feature the activities near the entrance gate the 
cars, the crowds, the friendly greetings and the large family, 


burdened with the day's food. Move in with them to the fair 

Get a program, and look over the order of events, planning 
a sequence of the cake contest and a series of them, to show 
the stock judging. Study the lighting, to get the most from 
the bulging muscles of work horses and the sleek coats of prize 
winning cattle. Remember reaction shots of proud owners, 
and please them and yourself, by posed shots of the winners. 
Don't miss exhibits from the 4-H clubs and from other junior 
groups. The delighted parents make good subjects. 

These are only some of the public events that you will want 
to film. Not infrequently, your town will be visited by per- 
sonages whom everybody will unite to honor. A movie record 
of these incidents will bring the great world home to your 
friends in later years, as they say, "Yes, he was right here and 
we talked to him. Remember what he said to you, Bill?" 

The graduation ceremonies of your children should be 
filmed, and you can get any number of staged shots, to add 
to them. Is there a pageant or a dance festival to which you 
have contributed underwriting? If so, there is an opportunity 
for a personal dividend and a chance to please your friends 
who take part. 

In filming these, the emphasis must always be dual. There 
is the central feature, yes. But and it cannot be said too 
often there are the people who see it. What they do and 
what they look like will, in the years to come, tell your grand- 
children about the world, as your generation knew it. 



'OVIE making offers a twofold opportunity for self ex- 
pression. When you are filming, you can follow any 
theme and record scenes according to any sequence. 
When you edit, you can change that theme and rearrange 
scenes or eliminate them. 

Through "editing," you can combine short rolls of film, re- 
turned by the processing station, to form longer reels, more 
convenient for projection. You may excise mistakes; overex- 
posed shots may be taken out and scenes with other defects 
can be removed. 

If you loaded the camera in bright sunlight and fogged the 
beginning of a reel, the damaged film length may be discarded. 
If lens flare spoiled a shot, this footage may be eliminated. In 
short, by editing, you can bury your cine sins. 

Editing is also a means of complete control over the movie 
medium. You can trim scenes to the desired length; you can 
improve the film's continuity, by rearranging the order of cer- 
tain shots and by inserting others that may have been made 
at a different time or place. Editing lets you clarify the film 
story, by inserting titles. 

Careful editing is almost as important as planning the film 
in advance. In fact, through editing, you can often achieve a 
continuity, even if none was planned when the film was ex- 

Editing requires handling a film during a number of opera- 
tions; it is advisable to use great care in the procedure, for a 



small scratch on the emulsion or a grain of dust will be mag- 
nified into a blemish in the picture, when it is screened. Hold 
the film by the edge, when you take it in your hands, wipe 
emulsion fragments off, after splicing, and wind the coils 
tightly, in transferring film from one reel to another. Fas- 
tidious movie makers wear white cotton gloves when they are 
cutting, splicing or rewinding film; this is a particularly valu- 
able precaution in handling full color film. 

Tools of editing 

The most important tool of film editing is the "splicer," a 
mechanism that allows you to join the ends of film perma- 
nently, by applying cement. 

There are several types of splicers, each of which is provided 
with an instruction booklet that explains its operation. How- 
ever, all these accomplish the same purpose and, with each, 
the fundamental procedure in making a splice is as follows: 

1. Place over the guide pins of the splicer the two ends of 
film that are to be joined. When you splice original reversal 
film to original reversal film (including full color), both 
ends of the film are placed in the splicer bed so that the 
emulsion faces upward. The side which is coated with emulsion 
has a dull surface; the uncoated side has a shiny surface. 

2. Operate the splicer, to shear the two opposing ends of film 
neatly. All splicers provide an automatic means of doing this, 
and instruction books make the procedure clear. 

3. Scrape the emulsion off that part of the end of the bot- 
tom film strip which is to be overlapped by the top film strip. 
Splicers have guides, which indicate this protruding area on 
the bottom film strip, and also scrapers with which one re- 
moves the emulsion. 

Some splicers require that the emulsion in the area of the 
splice be dampened slightly, before it is removed with the 
scraper. This is done by wiping the emulsion's surface with 
the end of a damp finger or with a felt pad that has been 


moistened in water. One should apply just enough moisture to 
soften the emulsion within the area of the splice. 

The scrapers of other splicers, known as "dry," do not re- 
quire that the emulsion be loosened, first, by dampening. These 
scrapers are corrugated, like a file, and remove emulsion by 
rasping. "Wet" and "dry" scrapers operate equally well. Their 
purpose is to remove emulsion neatly and cleanly from the 
area of the splice, leaving the film base clear and translucent. 

After removing the emulsion, clean the area of the splice 
with a brush or a piece of lintless cloth. No particles of emul- 
sion should adhere to the bare film base, because they will 
weaken the splice. 

4. To the area of the splice that has been scraped free of 
emulsion, apply cement with a quick, even brush stroke. 

5. Immediately operate the splicer (following directions in 
the instruction book), to bring the overlapping ends of film 
into contact and to hold them there, by pressure. 

6. After an interval of a few seconds, remove pressure and, 
while the film is still on the bed of the splicer, clean the area 
of the splice with a soft cloth, to remove emulsion fragments 
and excess cement. Then, take the film from the splicer guide 
pins and test the splice, by holding the film in your hands and 
giving it a firm tug. If the splice is made properly, it will not 

Through experience, splicing becomes a simple and almost 
automatic operation, and one rarely produces a bad splice. But 
the beginner faces a few hazards. He may not remove the 
emulsion completely from the area of the splice; this must 
be done, because the cement affects the base of the film only. 
This cement is not a glue, but a solvent that partially dis- 
solves the substance of the film base and, thus, welds the two 
film lengths together. Because of this fact, a properly made 
splice is just as strong as unbroken film. 

Enough cement must be applied, to cover the area of the 
splice with a thin coating of the fluid, but, if an excessive 


amount of cement is used, it may seep beyond the spliced area 
and stain the film. 

In early experiments in splicing, allow the cement to "set" 
for about twenty seconds; as you gain experience, you will 
learn to judge the minimum amount of time that is required 
for it to dry. At first, one may be impatient, and remove pres- 
sure too soon from the splice. 

Keep the bottle of cement corked, between operations, for 
the fluid may thicken quickly by evaporation and lose its effi- 
cacy. It is well to recork the bottle, immediately after cement 
has been applied. 

Cleanliness is important in splicing, because crumbs of emul- 
sion, scraped off the spliced area, may adhere to the film. In 
projection, these emulsion particles lodge in the projector gate 
where they are hardened by heat from the lamp. Ultimately, 
enough hardened emulsion may collect, to scratch the surface 
of the film. 

Therefore, before you remove the finished splice from the 
splicer bed, wipe it carefully. Then, after testing the splice, 
again clean the area of film on which you have been working. 

Films cannot be spliced without the aid of a splicer, because 
the ends of the film strips must be held in exact alignment, 
when the splice is made, and because the extent of the overlap 
must be precisely correct, so that there will be no variations 
from the proper distance between sprocket holes. Otherwise, 
the film will not run through the projector. The splicer, al- 
though it is a simple device, capable of much use, and even 
abuse, is an instrument of precision. 

You may want to splice a print of footage, originally re- 
corded on negative film, to a length of reversal film or to splice 
the duplicate of one reversal film to the original footage of 
another. Both prints and reversal duplicates are prepared so 
that the emulsion faces away from the screen, when the film is 
projected. Hence, in splicing prints to reversal film or reversal 
film to a duplicate of reversal film, the ends of the strips are 
placed back to back, and it is not necessary to remove emul- 


sion, because the shiny, or uncoated, sides of the two films are 
brought into contact. 

This method cannot be followed, in splicing two pieces of 
original reversal film black and white or color because the 
image of one film strip would be reversed in relation to the 
other. The illustrations on page 163 make this fact clear. 


An important tool of film editing is tiie "rewind." This is 
usually a substantial baseboard, to each end of which is at- 
tached an upright pedestal, supporting a geared spindle that 
is operated by a handle. The reel of film is put on one spindle, 
while an empty reel is placed on the other. By turning the 
handle, film may be wound on the empty spool slowly, or rap- 
idly. Some rewinds have only one geared "head," but two of 
these are more convenient. For continuous work, a motor 
driven rewind is available, with a foot switch for speed control. 

Film viewers 

Another editing aid is the "film viewer" which lets one 
inspect film, without setting up projector and screen. In its 
simplest form, a viewer consists of a pocket magnifying glass, 
backed by a channel of appropriate size through which the film 
passes. The magnifier can be adjusted, to focus for individual 
sight; a source of light must be provided, to illuminate the film 
from the rear. A more advanced type of viewer incorporates a 
complete rewind; in this mechanism, the film is always aligned 
correctly in the channel of the viewer's eyepiece. 

Another form of viewing device provides, instead of an eye- 
piece, a miniature viewing screen, upon which may be pro- 
jected the enlarged image of any one frame. A more advanced 
form of this device projects the picture on the miniature 
screen, in full motion. 

How to edit 

Suppose that you have planned a simple film, in advance, 
and that most of the scenes are in the desired order, or con- 


tinuity. In editing, it will be necessary only to splice the spools 
of film together and to wind them on a larger projection reel, 
to cut away the few scenes that turned out badly, for one rea- 
son or another, and to insert titles. Perhaps one or two shots 
were not filmed in the sequence in which you want them to 
appear. These you will cut out and shift to their proper places. 

Most amateur film editing is of this variety, and the work 
involved is very simple. First, provide yourself with two empty 
400 foot projection reels (if the film is 16mm.) or 200 foot 
projection reels (if the film is 8mm.) . You may have a long 
picture and may require several of these Heels, or you may use 
reels of still larger capacity. 

Also get several empty, small projection spools, to use in 
storing, temporarily, lengths that are cut out, to be shifted 
from one place in the finished movie to another. 

Then, set up the projector and screen and project the rolls 
of film, one by one. As you do so, make notes of the shots that 
are to be removed and of the scenes that are to be shifted from 
one place to another. You may also want to shorten some 
scenes. Project the film slowly, and do not hesitate to reverse 
the machine, to take a second look at a scene, if you want to 
study it again. 

When you have completed your notes, they may look some- 
thing like these, without the explanations in parentheses: 

Roll 1. 

1. Cut out laboratory's perforated marks at beginning of 
first scene. 

2. Cut out scene of car in garage. (Underexposed.) 

3. Cut out scene of Mother holding Baby at car window and 
splice into second roll before scene of waterfall. (By this 
change, it will appear that Mother is holding Baby at the 
window, to look at the waterfall; we shall have made a 
good scenic shot more interesting.) 

4. Cut in half the traveling camera shot that was made 
through car's windshield. Use part between two scenes of 


the car and part between two sequences of scenic shots. 
(The traveling shot was longer than necessary; a part of 
it could be used between two shots of the car, as it is 
driven past the camera, and another part could be shifted 
to a later portion of the film and used there, to divide a 
lengthy series of scenic shots.) 

5. Cut end of scene of cows in meadow. (Camera unsteady.) 

6. Shorten scene of mountains. (A lengthy long shot is mo- 

Make similar notes about each roll of film, and, after pro- 
jecting each of them, rewind it at once. When you have fin- 
ished studying the rolls of film and have completed your notes, 
you are ready to edit. 

Begin with the first roll of film. Place it on one spindle of 
the rewind and cut from it the several frames that bear per- 
forations, placed on them by the laboratory for purposes of 
identification. You are now dealing with footage that you in- 
tend to use, and which will, in the finished reel, be the first to 
pass through the projector. So that it may be threaded with- 
out involving the beginning scene, a "leader" should be pro- 
vided, which is a length of blank, white film. Use the one that 
was spliced to the first roll by the laboratory. A leader is im- 
portant, because it provides a length of film, for use in thread- 
ing the projector, and because it protects the outer coil of film 
on the reel. Two or three feet of leader should be spliced at the 
beginning of each large reel. 

After the leader has been added, wind the film slowly on the 
empty, larger projection reel, placed on the opposite spindle 
of the rewind. As you wind the film to the larger reel, make 
the changes and corrections in succession, as you reach them. 

When you arrive at the end of the first roll of film, cut off 
the laboratory's perforated marks and any film beyond them. 
Remove the empty spool and place the second spool on the 
vacant rewind spindle. After excising the leader at the begin- 


ning of the second spool, splice this new footage to the end of 
the film on the larger reel, and continue operations. 

A shot that should be shifted from one part of the film to 
another is removed and is wound on an empty, small spool, 
which is put aside, until you reach the place where you plan 
to insert the deferred footage. 

When the editing is completed, all the film will have been 
wound on the larger reel. Then, to the end of the movie, splice 
a trailer a "leader" at a film's end, serving the same purpose 
there, as at its beginning. Place a second larger reel on the 
vacant spindle and wind the film backward on it. The picture 
will then be ready to project. 

Editing is simpler, if one works always with film running in 
the same direction. You will note that we began at the be- 
ginning of the reel, and worked toward its end. Then the film 
was rewound to the beginning, to make it ready for projection. 

When one removes a scene from the continuous film, so that 
it may be shifted to another place, there is some possibility of 
confusion. The separate strip might be inserted, so that the 
scenes would be upside down or the emulsion would face 
wrongly, in relation to the rest of the film. Observance of three 
simple cautions will avoid this error. 

1. Be sure that the strips of film lie flat that they are not 

2. Be sure that the dull sides (which bear the emulsion) of 
the opposing ends of film in the splicer bed are both fac- 
ing upward (unless one of the film strips is a duplicate or 
a positive print, which have been discussed earlier) . 

3. Make sure that you are splicing the top of one frame to 
the bottom of another. (The beginning of one scene is 
spliced to the end of another; if this splicing is not done, 
the frames in one scene will be upside down, in relation 
to the other.) 

The illustrations on page 163 clarify this system. 


After editing, clean the film with folds of soft, lintless cloth, 
held in the hand between the rewinds. (This may be done 
while you are rewinding the film, to make it ready for projec- 
tion.) You will be amazed by the quantity of emulsion frag- 
ments and other dust that the film will have picked up during 
the editing process, despite your care in making each splice. 

If the film has been much handled, it may be advisable to 
moisten the cleaning pad with more carbon tetrachloride or with 
film cleaning solutions, provided by film manufacturers. How- 
ever, unless the film has been soiled by fingerprints, this is not 
recommended with Kodachrome, and no cleaning fluid should 
be used with Kodachrome, unless it is specified for the purpose 
by the manufacturer of that film. 

When you have finished editing, you will have the pleasure 
of viewing the film as a whole and of noting the great improve- 
ment that has been made by your changes. You will find that 
eliminating a few faults and shifting a few scenes will have 
improved the quality of the whole movie. 

You may decide that further changes will help. By all means 
make them, for, when you learn to criticize your own work, 
you will have passed another milestone on the road to good 
movie making. You may find that transition scenes are miss- 
ing and that you will want to film these later. You may dis- 
cover that a sequence lacks an important closeup. Perhaps you 
can get this later, too, or that may be impossible, and you may 
have to content yourself with resolving not to make the same 
mistake again. 

Look at the film a second time, more critically. Have you 
been too lenient? Are shots still in the reel that should come 
out? Remember that you have a natural disinclination to elim- 
inate anything, for, at first, doing this seems wasteful. But a 
good movie is your objective, not the mere conservation of 
film footage. 

Then, too, you can preserve the excerpted scenes on a sep- 
arate reel and, from this, you can compile a roll of "seconds," 
to be looked at privately from time to time. If, for any reason, 


you feel, later, that a given scene is indispensable, you can 
splice it back into the reel. 

On a reel of "seconds" or "stock shots," you also can pre- 
serve those scenes that present no difficulty, so far as film 
quality is concerned, but which contain matter that is ex- 
traneous to the movie in hand. You will find spots for these 
scenes, in later pictures. 

After editing, the next step is to splice titles. If the titles 
were written when the film was planned, and were made 
soon after, you may splice them into their proper places in 
the first editing. However, if the titles are to be written after 
the film is made, you will probably want to postpone writing 
them until you have seen the picture in its edited state. A dis- 
cussion of title writing and title making follows at the end of 
this chapter. 

More elaborate editing 

When one is following a scenario or is producing a serious 
film of any type, it may not be convenient to record scenes in 
the order in which they are to be projected. All the indoor 
shots of the movie might be made at one time and all the out- 
door shots at another time. Then, the process of editing must 
be more elaborate. 

It will be necessary to separate the whole film, or large parts 
of it, into the component scenes. These are catalogued, accord- 
ing to a system, and are reassembled in the new order, follow- 
ing the script, if there is one. 

This necessitates some method of storing numerous short 
lengths of film and of keeping them in order while you are 
working. These scene lengths can be wound into small coils 
and placed in numbered, round pill boxes, in typewriter ribbon 
cans, in shallow, round holes, drilled in a soft wooden plank, in 
compartments of egg boxes or in any pigeon hole arrangement 
that will serve the purpose. Each compartment is labeled with 
a number which refers to a numbered card, on which is writ- 


ten a description of the scene. Thus, the contents of any pigeon 
hole may be identified by reference to the numbered cards. 

Another way to segregate scenes is to secure each of them at 
one end, by a spring clothespin, and to attach each of these to 
the top edge of a barrel or waste basket, lined with soft cloth. 
Each clothespin is numbered, to identify the film strip that it 
supports, while the ends of the strips are allowed to fall, loose, 
inside the barrel. 

There are numerous methods of segregating and storing the 
separate scenes, and one's own choice depends upon his taste. 
But the important thing is not to allow film to coil indiscrimi- 
nately over desk or floor, where it may be scratched or may 
pick up dust. Loose film strips will invariably become tangled, 
and you will waste a great deal of time in hunting for the one 
that you want. 

When a method of storing film clips has been devised, thread 
the projector with the first roll of film to be edited, but omit 
the takeup reel. Let the film run off on a clean, flat surface, in- 
stead. A square of white cardboard, propped upon a desk top, 
will serve as a miniature screen, and the projector image may 
be focused upon this. It is not necessary to turn off ordinary 
lights for this miniature projection, as the image will be bright 
enough. Specially made, shielded small screens are also avail- 
able for this purpose. 

Place the rewind close at hand, and obtain a notebook 
or some blank cards on which to record the salient points of 
each scene. As the film comes out of the projector, stop at 
the end of each scene, cut this scene out of the reel with a 
pair of scissors, place it in its identifying compartment and 
make a note, describing it. For winding in small coils, handy, 
single flanged editing reels are available. The film can easily 
be removed from these in a roll, ready for placing in its proper 

It is not necessary to write an involved description of each 
scene. All that you need is a series of identifying tags that 
will recall to you what the scene contains, when you come 


to the later rearrangement. A note like this will usually suf- 

Scene 3. Jane comes out of door; met by dog. They 
walk out of scene. 

This kind of note will usually give you all that you need. 
Naturally, if the scene has special characteristics which you 
will have to know, in editing the film, later, you must add 
these to your notes. For instance, besides listing Jane's action 
in the scene, it may be necessary to add, "wears red dress, 
no hat." This information will prevent you from using, for 
the next scene, a shot in which Jane appears in a blue dress 
and a broad brimmed hat. 

While you are cutting the film, ideas for appropriate titles 
may occur to you. Jot them down on similar cards, relating 
them to the nearest scene, thus: 
Scene 3. 
Title: Jane decides to explore 

You may wish to plan the titles later, after you have 
rearranged your scenes. 

After this procedure, the actual editing is done, by studying 
the separate cards and by rearranging them in a new order, 
which represents the final continuity. 

After the cards have been finally arranged, the film strips 
are spliced together in the same order. Since each strip is in- 
dexed and is readily accessible, this step is simple. Titles may 
also be spliced in now, if they have already been made. Some 
film editors insert a short strip of blank film wherever a title 
is to be added, for later convenience in splicing. 

Having spliced the film together, you will find it advisable 
to project it several times, to make sure that the relationship 
between scenes is as smooth as possible. Such a checking may 
suggest minor changes, and it will reveal any accidental errors. 
It will also give additional aid, in planning titles. It may be 
desirable to shorten certain scenes, but we can better reserve 
this process until the last, because, once scenes have been 


shortened, it is not easy to lengthen them again, except by 
awkward splices. 

The mechanics of editing can be reduced to routine sim- 
plicity, while the real fun of editing is the magic that you can 
work, by rearranging scenes and sequences. Editing, and the 
proper admixture of titles, will make a movie continuity grow 
out of a hodge podge. 

Suppose that you have a few sequences of a college reunion 
an unplanned movie, made in haste. Let us say that the se- 
quences were filmed in the following order: 

1. Close shots of friends on porch of college inn. 

2. Group of alumni arriving on late train. 

3. Sequences of horseshoe pitching and of golf. 

4. Shots of car, filled with alumni, arriving at campus. 

5. Scenes of open air luncheon. 

6. Medium and semi closeup scenes of a group of alumni 

7. Scenic views of campus. 

8. Parade. 

9. Car filled with alumni, driving slowly away from camera. 

Searching for a continuity for these scenes, one thinks first 
of the obvious plan of showing alumni arriving at the cam- 
pus, engaging in activities in logical sequence and then de- 
parting. But why not begin with the college and end with the 
college, since that is the most important thing? Then, within 
this bracket, we can present a logical continuity. Thus, the 
scenes might be rearranged as follows: 

Title: Once each year, Summit College recalls her sons . . . 

A. Scenic views of campus. (Part of 7, but save the best 
shots for later use.) 

B. Group of alumni arriving on train (2) . 

C. Shots of car, filled with alumni, arriving at campus (4) . 

D. Close shots of friends on porch of college inn (1) . 


E. Scenes of open air luncheon (5) . 

F. Parade (8). 

G. Sequences of horseshoe pitching and of golf (3) . 
H. Group of alumni singing (6) . 

I. Car filled with alumni, driving slowly away from the 
camera (9). 

J. Best scenic views of the campus (part of 7) . 

Additional titles will help to tell the story. Before sequence 
D, a title that introduces the thought that we are meeting 
old friends again could be inserted; before sequence H, a title 
could be used, to indicate that alumni are reluctant to leave. 
Before J, one could insert a title, such as, 

But when the twentieth reunion comes, Summit will still 
be there. 

When a movie has been carefully planned, before it is 
filmed, editing offers opportunity for further refinement. Often, 
you can "intercut," that is, alternate scenes of action, made 
at one time, with those of different action, made at another 
time. For example, suppose that we filmed a country fair and 
that we took some excellent shots of livestock judging. Sup- 
pose that, later, we made scenes of various types of people 
watching something that is not included in the lens field. 

Perhaps we have shots of a little boy, of two elderly women 
and of a stout man, all gazing past the camera, their attention 
held by something of interest it does not matter what, since 
it is not seen. 

We could intercut the two sets of scenes and show: shots 
of prize cattle stout man looking at something (presumably 
at the cattle) more shots of cattle shots of elderly women 
gazing past the camera shots of judging cattle little boy 
looking intently past the camera shot of the blue ribbon 
steer. Thus, we can introduce the human element and make 
the scenes of cattle judging more entertaining. 

Of course, this method could not be followed, if the scenes 
of the intent faces were obviously made in one part of the fair 


ground and the views of cattle judging, in another. How- 
ever, one part of a country fair ground looks much like a 
second, and, if the views are close, the audience will not know 
the difference. 

We can also intercut, to make it appear that two things 
are happening at the same time. For example, we have a 
series of scenes of George building a camp fire and another 
series of Helen mixing batter for pancakes. We cannot make 
sequences of both operations at once. We should film George 
building the fire and then film Helen mixing pancake batter. 
But, in real life, these activities would take place concurrently, 
and we can make them appear to do so on the screen, by 
alternating scenes of George and Helen, thus: 

1. George chopping wood. 

2. Helen, at camp table, opening box of pancake flour. 

3. Semi closeup of Helen pouring flour and milk into bowl. 

4. George building fire. 

5. Helen beating batter in bowl. 

6. Semi closeup of George lighting fire. 

7. Helen greasing skillet. 

8. ( We bring our two sets of parallel action together.) This 
shot shows George at the fire, which is now burning well. 
Helen enters the scene, carrying the skillet. 

Often, in filming, we start the camera before the significant 
action of the scene begins and allow it to run for a few seconds 
after the action is completed. In editing, we can trim out the 
unnecessary footage and improve the film's tempo greatly. 
For example, we have a shot of a bicycle lying by the road; 
Jack enters the scene, mounts the bicycle and rides out of 
the lens field. The shot continues for a few seconds. Obvi- 
ously, this scene could be trimmed. At the beginning, we could 
cut the shot at the first frame in which Jack begins to enter 
the scene and, at the end, we could cut it at the first frame 
after he had entirely disappeared. 


If the subject matter of a shot is static or if the action is 
continuous, you must judge, for yourself, the proper length 
of its footage. But don't permit the scene to run longer than 
the time that is required by most persons, to grasp the im- 
portant details of the picture. It is a common amateur failing 
to be too lenient in using scissors. 

"Cutting on action" is an involved editing practice that 
may be required in photoplays and in special purpose movies 
of other kinds. When two successive scenes represent continu- 
ous action, it is necesary to match the action in the last frame 
of the first scene with that in the first frame of the second 
scene. Suppose that we film a character raising a cup of cof- 
fee to his lips and that, while he does this, we shift the camera 
from a medium shot to a semi closeup. Actually, it would be 
necessary to ask the actor to raise the coffee cup to his lips 
twice once, when we film the medium shot and, again, when 
we film the semi closeup. 

Then, in editing, we should cut the end of the first scene 
after a frame showing the coffee cup, midway in the air, and 
we should trim the beginning of the second scene before a 
frame in which the coffee cup occupied almost the same posi- 
tion. When the two scenes were spliced together, the motion 
of the hand raising the cup would be continuous, in spite of 
the shift in viewpoint. 

As your knowledge of the fine points of editing progresses, 
look over your older films, to see how they could be improved. 
By reediting an old reel, you can make a new picture. It is 
fun, too, for editing is a challenge to your ingenuity. 

Writing titles 

There are two basic types of titles, and these may be used 
in any movie. First, there are the captions that introduce the 
picture and, second, there are those that appear in the body 
of the film. These two varieties of titles differ in purpose and 
they differ both in style of composition and in physical ap- 

Above, left: this is what happens, if the wrong end of a strip of film is spliced to the 

preceding scene. One scene is upside down, in relation to the other. Above, right: this 

is what happens when ordinary reversal film is spliced, shiny side to shiny side. The 

words in the sign at the top are reversed, as if they were seen in a mirror. 

Reversal film, correctly 
spliced. The top of one 
frame is joined to the 
bottom of the other. 

Frances Christeson, ACL, 
and Harry V. Merrick, ACL 

Lewis B. Sebring, jr 


Robert W. Nutter, ACL 

Frame enlargements of titles in amateur 
movies. The title, NASSAU, was drawn in 
sand, and it was filmed with reverse motion, 
as a wave washed it away. Below, a sign post 
serves as a title. 

George E. Tomlinson 

Jess Leverich, ACL 


Mildred Greene, ACL 


Titles that introduce the film, consisting, at a minimum, 
of the name of the movie and the name of its maker, are 
called "the lead title assembly." This may be expanded to 
include additional "credit titles," lists of players and a dedi- 
cation or foreword; the number of titles depends upon the 
intention of the movie and upon its importance and length. 
But the primary service of a lead title assembly is to identify 
the picture and to record names and facts. 

However, the "main title," or name of the film, and the 
foreword, if one is used, may serve a second, and but slightly 
less important, purpose. This is the creation of interest in the 
film and the evocation of an atmosphere, suited to its subject 
matter. Thus, main titles unless they are written for record 
films need not, and should not, be too bald, too matter of 

Our Trip to Hawaii gives the name of the film and tells 
what it will show, but it does little else. Its effect is deaden- 
ing. The identification is so complete that it leaves no room 
for curiosity. The wording is factual, commonplace and with- 
out grace. 

Write, instead, Islands o] Aloha, and note the very dif- 
ferent effect. Here, too, is a name, but it suggests the sub- 
ject of your film, instead of stating it bluntly. There are over- 
tones of emotion, and the imagination has room to stir about. 
The wording is melodic and graceful, not threadbare, from 
daily usage. 

The selection of such wordings is not governed by exact 
rules, but, rather, by esthetic concepts. The presentation of 
a lead title assembly, however, should be planned to accord 
with accepted practice and with good taste. These vary with 
the type and importance of the film. 

In a picture that will be shown only to your family and 
friends, it will be obvious that you are the cameraman. The 
concern of first importance is the subject matter of the movie; 
the main title is, therefore, placed first. It may be lettered on 
a plain card or on a simple pictorial background that will sug- 
gest the film's content. 


When it is given at all, the name of the filmer appears in 
the credit title. Since this caption is necessarily an adjunct to 
the main title, it may be introduced smoothly, by dissolving 
to it from the main title. A cut would serve nearly as well, but 
the intrusion of a fade out and fade in, here, is undesirable. 

The credit title should be lettered in the style of the main 
title and on the same type of background. A slightly smaller 
type size, however, may be used, to indicate the relative im- 
portance of the main title and of the more personal credit 

Generally accepted forms for personal credit titles are: 
Photographed by John J. Smith; Photography by John J. 
Smith; Filmed by John J. Smith; Produced by John J. Smith. 
If the filmer is a member of the Amateur Cinema League, 
he may well add after his name the identifying initials, ACL, 
recognized the world over as the emblem of a competent 
movie maker. 

Bombastic credit title phrasings, which should be avoided, 
are: A John J. Smith Production; From, the Camera of John 
J. Smith, or John J. Smith Presents. The especial weakness 
of the last of these is that, in using it, the credit title must 
appear before the main title, which, in personal pictures, is 

Captions inserted in the body of the film, to meet specific 
needs, are called "subtitles." Their composition is governed 
primarily by the use for which they are intended. Their most 
fundamental service is to give information that the audience 
will need, to understand the following sequence. A simple 
example of a subtitle is: The Grand Canyon, more than a 
mile deep. 

Another important function of a subtitle is to link sequences. 
It may bridge a gap in time or space, or in both, that is cre- 
ated by a transition which is not represented in pictures. So 
we could have: From lunch at the Myrtle Bank to laughter 
at Bournemouth Baths. 

A subtitle can also suggest atmosphere or stir the imagina- 
tion of the audience, to accord with one's own feeling about a 


sequence. A single caption may serve all these purposes. 

By rewriting the informative title already given, we might 
evolve: The Grand Canyon deep wrinkle in Dame Nature's 

Subtitles also tell us what characters say. A child is seen, 
playing in a yard. The scene shifts to show Mother coming 
out to a porch. She speaks to the child, and what she says is 
shown by words in quotation marks, "Daddy's Homer 

A few simple rules will guide us in choosing wordings for 

Avoid "tipping off" telling the audience, 
by means of a title, exactly what it will see 
in the scenes to follow. 


A cool haven in a hot coun- We swam at Bournemouth 

try Bournemouth Baths. Baths. 

Avoid the depressing effect of unnecessary 
facts and figures. 


Havana from gray skies Havana 1400 miles from 

to blue seas. New York City. 

Try to write titles in an impersonal manner, 
except in essentially personal films. 


To make hay while the sun We saw the farmers hay- 

shines is still the rule. ing and rode on the hay- 


Avoid a telegraphic style. 


Jamaica's green gold pours Loading bananas Jamaica, 

into north bound steamers. 


Follow regular rules of grammar and punc- 


George Washington, hero George Washington Hero 

and saviour of his country. and Saviour of His Coun- 


Do not, except in compiling a lead title 
assembly, let one title follow another. Re- 
write them, making only one, or separate 
them by scenes. 


Calling first at Kingston, Jamaica, spice island of the 

we came to Jamaica, spice Indies, 

island of the Indies. (no scenes) 

Our first call was at Kings- 

Avoid the use of more than about twenty 
words on one title card. 


Distinctive dress marks As one drives around Lake 

clearly the natives of each Atitlan, or goes about it by 

community around Lake speedy motor launch, one 

Atitlan. (12 words) sees that the natives have 

distinctive costumes in 
each village which identify 
them and the communities 
from which they come. (85 

A similar taboo is rightly leveled against that specialized 
titling technique which calls for a wordy exposition of a mass 
of facts on a scroll or "traveling title." Admissible only as a 
needed foreword at the commencement of a film, a "scroll 


title" should not appear in the body of a picture; its content 
may be restated in shorter form or broken up into two or 
more independent captions, separated by scenes. 

Title styles 

Although subtitles may be lettered on cards that carry 
some form of decoration, or even over a suitable pictorial 
background, these should be of the simplest kind. Legibility 
is the most important attribute of a good title card, and any- 
thing which obscures this should be avoided. 

The style and size of types used in lettering subtitles should 
not vary within a film. But the lead title may well have a 
special typographical dress. 

Titles are commercially available in 8mm. and 16mm. 
widths. Prices are reasonable, and the cost of brief subtitles 
is very small indeed. You have only to give to a title making 
concern the wordings of your captions and instructions as 
to the type and background that you prefer. 

Title making companies offer booklets, to illustrate com- 
binations of type and background. Usually, a wide variety of 
type styles, borders and backgrounds is available, to suit every 
purpose. Titles for a cruise film can employ nautical back- 
grounds; captions of skiing films may be supplied with orna- 
ments that suggest winter. Special backgrounds and hand let- 
tering may be combined, to your order, for elaborate main 
titles, although these are not recommended for subtitles. 

Commercial titles, designed for use with black and white 
footage, are generally printed on positive film, which has a 
clear base; those that are used with Kodachrome are most 
frequently recorded on emulsions that have a "purple haze," 
or blue tinted, base. Titles made on Kodachrome film are more 
expensive, although commercial companies will supply them. 

Making your own titles 

Many amateurs like to prepare their own titles. This proc- 
ess, from the choice of phraseology to the actual filming, is 


fairly simple. Titles may be made without accessory equip- 
ment. Large, wooden blocks can be placed on a lawn or a 
table, where they are filmed by normal methods. Letters with 
adhesive backs may be taken on a filming expedition, and 
titles may be made "on location." 

For less limited and more convenient title preparation at 
home, there is a device, known as a "titler." This holds the 
camera and the title card in fixed positions, with reference 
to each other, assuring sharp focus. Exposure is simplified by 
a uniform illumination which is easy to secure indoors, with 
artificial light. In this machine, title cards can be changed at 

Titlers are of many types. One model is designed for use 
with small cards, whose area, as it is seen in the finished title, 
must exactly fill the film frame. To insure this, the distance 
between camera and card must be most accurately deter- 
mined. Because of the size of the cards, it generally approxi- 
mates seven inches; therefore, we need a supplementary lens, 
or. portrait attachment, which was discussed in an earlier 
chapter. This supplementary unit is a part of the titler, and 
it is designed to come into place directly in front of the 
lens of the camera. When it is used with typed or printed 
cards, and with those that have been lettered legibly by 
hand, but in small characters, this titler gives satisfactory 
results, although it does not permit the employment of larger, 
movable letters. Special small letters are available for use 
with this device. 

Other titlers are more versatile and, also, more expensive. 
With some of these, cameras of all kinds may be employed, 
as they are provided with means of locating any particular 
camera in an accurate position, with reference to the title 
card. The distance between camera and card may be varied 
at will; so, we may use cards of different sizes. Some of these 
more complex instruments possess revolving drums, spindles 
for scrolls and other devices that give variety in title choice 
and enable the filmer to secure many interesting effects. 


Lighting title cards and other objects that are filmed in 
the process of making captions presents few difficulties. A 
light source may be held directly over the camera, in using 
small ti tiers. This may consist of a hundred watt lamp, which 
will serve very well, unless slow film is used. Exposures will 
vary with the subject and the kind of film in the camera, but 
the instruction booklets that accompany titlers generally give 
full information about diaphragm openings. Some titlers have 
lamp sockets in a permanent location. Inexpensive flood bulbs, 
that will be discussed in a later chapter, will give additional 
illumination, if this is essential. 

Preparing titles for filming 

Preparing your own titles is a twofold undertaking. Unlike 
most movie making, title filming demands that you first cre- 
ate your subjects and then record them. The initial part of 
the title making process is only indirectly cinematographic, 
because it deals with what will be filmed later the title card. 
This may be anything from a sheet of wallpaper to a photo- 
graphic print, on which the text appears by a number of 

Letters may be drawn, typewritten, printed with movable 
type or applied in the form of characters that are manufac- 
tured from metal, wood, linoleum, cork, modeling clay, or even 
rope. Only your ingenuity and the space that is available on 
the card set limits to your imagination. 

Backgrounds must always be subordinated to the chief 
requisite of a caption, which is quick legibility. In lead title 
assemblies, we have the widest choice, because our audience 
is, hopefully, curious and attentive, which permits us to offer 
it two things at once, the title wording and its illustrative 

Photographs are very popular, as main title backgrounds, 
because they can so readily be secured and because they may 
be made for this special purpose. A still picture, taken when 
the footage was filmed, will show the subject of the movie. 


The print that will be used should be fairly dark, so that 
white title lettering may stand out well against it. Contrast 
of legend and background increases legibility. 

Mottled paper is a pleasant background for titles within 
the body of a film. If you can get a wallpaper sample book, 
you will have a constant source of title material, because, if 
you employ movable letters, the same square of paper may 
be used repeatedly. Letters may be pasted on glass which is 
laid over the background. These expedients are unnecessary, 
if the background is not to be preserved for later use, and 
legends may be lettered upon it in ink, water color paint or oil. 

If your draftsmanship is mediocre, you can improve it with 
lettering guides; if you enjoy playing with printers* ink, small 
hand presses will serve admirably, for you can, with their aid, 
print very neat and attractive captions. Persons who perform 
lettering commercially may be employed to make more elab- 
orate titles. 

The wide variety of movable letters that one finds indi- 
cates the popularity of this titling aid. Made of almost every 
conceivable material, these characters are of two chief varie- 
ties; there are those that must lie flat and others that will 
adhere to a vertical surface. The latter are sometimes magnet- 
ized, for use on metals; sometimes they have pins, by which 
they may be attached to a background. Others have gummed 
backs, suitable either for a single employment or for repeated 

Obviously, modeled characters of this kind are more widely 
serviceable, if they are capable of vertical application. If you 
will be using those that must lie flat, you should get a titler 
that will permit the card to be placed horizontally. If you use 
magnetic letters and wish to vary the background which 
must, of course, be metallic a thin sheet of paper may cover 
the metal, without affecting the adhesive quality of the letters. 

Scissors and patience may advantage your pocketbook, if 
you will make a collection of letters cut from magazine adver- 
tisements, posters, calendars and leaflets. Edible alphabets, 


designed for juvenile soups, games in which movable letters 
figure and the inexpensive characters employed in bulletin 
board wordings, cafeteria signs and other notices will servf 
the amateur title maker. 

Filming titles 

Our titles are prepared, now, and we must film them. We 
may use Kodachrome, black and white reversal or positive 
emulsions. If we elect to film with reversal footage, either 
black and white or color, our work ends with the actual shoot- 
ing, and the processing laboratory does the rest. If we use 
positive film, we must employ a commercial laboratory to 
develop it for us or we must set up our darkroom. 

This is not so involved as one might think, because positive 
film may be developed at home, without special ability or 
equipment, if we deal only with short lengths, which are ade- 
quate for titles. This emulsion is the least expensive of all, yet 
it has, for the title maker who works at home, a most service- 
able property, because it provides reversed black and white 
values in the finished caption. By virtue of this, black letter- 
ing on a white card appears, on the screen, as white lettering 
on a black background. Lettering in black ink, on white cards, 
is much easier than using white ink on black cards; white 
letters on an otherwise dark screen are more legible and more 
comfortable to our eyes than is a glaring white surface, bril- 
liantly lighted, in the midst of which a huddle of black letters 
is only partially visible. 

For longer title wordings, more film is required. In deter- 
mining the length of your titles, a practical expedient will be 
helpful. When you are ready to film a caption, press the but- 
ton, and, while the camera is still running, read the title aloud 
twice; when you have completed the second reading, stop the 

This will insure ample footage, whether the title is brief or 
lengthy. If you are in doubt, shoot the maximum footage that 
you may need, because you always can shorten this, in editing. 


Special effects with titles 

Title backgrounds and the letters themselves may be filmed 
in motion. If you make use of the simple tricks that were dis- 
cussed in Chapter VI, you can introduce a variety of illusions. 
The first of these tricks is performed by stopping the camera, 
by modifying the scene and by starting the camera again. The 
second trick employs reverse motion. These devices will serve 
16mm. filmers, but the second is not available to 8mm. camera 
users, without elaborate methods which are not discussed 
here, but which will be explained to members of the Amateur 
Cinema League, on request. Film of 8mm. width, when it is 
ready for projection, has only one line of perforations. In 
reverse motion effects, 8mm. film is not only spliced end for 
end; it must also be turned over on its longer axis, and this 
operation will force the audience to read all titles backward 
on the screen. 

With the first of these simple tricks, characters may be 
added to, or taken away from, the title card, so that legends 
may appear on the screen and depart, letter by letter. 

Reverse motion in titling will permit a scrambled heap of 
alphabetic characters to range themselves into a caption or 
it will bring a title out of flame. Letters can appear to fly from 
the nowhere into the here, to form desired phrases. 

Using these methods of titling demands, first, a clear under- 
standing of the principles of these two magical effects, as they 
have been set forth earlier in this book, and, second, a willing- 
ness to experiment with different devices for employing them. 

Moving backgrounds add interest to titles. To film them, 
we can apply the title wording to a glass of suitable size, 
which is placed between the camera and the scene that will 
be filmed. The lens is focused on the background, and the 
shot begins. While the camera continues to run, the focus 
of the lens is shifted, so that the background will become 
indistinct and the title wording will come into clear vision. 
After enough footage has been recorded, to permit the title 
to be read comfortably, the focus is again shifted to the back- 


ground, so that the title will be blurred, as it was at the 
beginning of the scene. This method is also serviceable with 
static backgrounds, if one prefers to eliminate action. The 
general appearance of this titling effect is like that of a dis- 
solve, in the projected picture. It is possible only for those 
movie makers who have a focusing lens at then* disposal. 

The camera may also move, to create an effective title. In 
this procedure, letters are laid on the ground, where they are 
filmed, after which the camera tilts smoothly upward to reveal 
the scene that follows. Title wordings may be placed on blank 
leaves of books, by lettering, by printing or by using gummed 
characters. A hand turns a page, to reveal the title and, again, 
to remove it. This device is very effective in films of historical 

Titles may be revealed by a wipeoff, which has previously 
been described. The lettered card is momentarily covered by 
a sheet of dull, black cardboard, which is drawn aside, at 
any desired speed, to show the legend. The title may be 
obscured by reversing the process. Title cards may be lowered 
in filming, to show the appropriate scenes that follow, but 
focus must be changed quickly, to avoid indistinct footage 
in the action which the title precedes. 

The more elaborate cameras, already described, will produce 
still more complex titles. These special effects will be discussed 
later, in this book. 

Our movie, that we have edited and titled, with so much 
satisfaction in the absorbing and challenging processes of these 
important phases of filming, is now ready to go on the pro- 


A THOUGH a movie may be a great success, as a pro- 
duction, an audience will judge it by the presentation 
on the screen. If pictures are out of focus, if their 
corners are obscured by dust which has gathered in the gate 
of the projector and if the showing is interrupted several times 
by broken splices, your guests will have a poor impression 
of your capacity as a movie maker, no matter how carefully 
you planned and recorded the film that has just been pro- 

Therefore, the presentation is very important. Its success 
will depend, to a great degree, upon what you do before your 
guests arrive. 

Arranging the room 

The screen should be placed in the room, so that the entire 
audience may have an unobstructed view of it, but it should 
not be raised so high that your guests will have to crane their 
necks, to see the picture. The most satisfactory arrangement 
is to stagger the seats and to place the screen, so that its 
lower area is on a level with the eyes of the seated guests. 
If this is done, nobody will block another's view, and every- 
body can enjoy the projection in comfort. 

The precise arrangement of projector, seats and screen 
depends upon the shape of the room and the location of its 
furniture. It may be advisable to move some of the things in 
the room, in advance of the showing, to provide generous 




space for the guests. If the party is small, this may not be 

Because the brilliance of the picture on the screen is 
diminished, if it is seen from an angle, the best seating plan 
would place the whole audience directly in line with the screen. 
Those who sit out of this direct line will see less well. This 
ideal cannot always be reached. 

A path must be reserved for the beam of light coming from 
the projector and passing through the center of the best seating 
space. A guest will be very uncomfortable, if he has been 
placed so that he must twist himself to one side, to avoid 
obstructing the shaft of light that carries the picture to the 
screen. The diagram shows a good arrangement of audience, 
projector and screen. 


The audience must not sit too near the screen. 

Some hosts place the first row of guests too close to the 
screen. This should not be done, because everybody in the 
audience should be able to see the whole picture, without 
turning his head from side to side. We have all learned the 


discomfort of this position, from having gone forward too far, 
in motion picture theatres. 

The minimum distance from the screen to the nearest chairs 
should be one hah* of the total distance from the screen to 
the projector. This rule applies when the regular lens is used 
on a 16mm. projector or when the usual lens is employed on 
an 8mm. machine. When a lens of greater focal length (a term 
that is discussed in Chapter XV) is employed for projection 
in an auditorium, the first line of seats may be placed nearer. 

The comfort of your audience is the principal purpose of 
these precautions, because you want your guests to enjoy 
your movie party, just as you would want them to take 
pleasure in any other entertainment that you might give them. 

Preparing the films 

Select the films to be shown, place them on a rewind and 
inspect them carefully. Look for broken splices or imperfect 
splices that have loosened. By holding the edges of the film 
in your fingers, as you wind it slowly, you can detect tears 
or breaks. If you have added the titles just before the presen- 
tation, check them, to assure yourself that they have been 
spliced into the film correctly. 

After you have rectified any faults that may be found, 
rewind the film, so that it will be ready for projection; while 
you rewind it, clean it, by passing it between the folds of a 
soft, lintless cloth. 

Make sure that film containers are correctly marked and 
that they are arranged in the order in which you will project 
the reels that they hold. Then, as you change reels, you need 
not fumble in the dark. 

The projector 

Turn your attention, next, to the projector. The first pre- 
caution is to clean the gate, by pulling a soft cloth through 
it, back and forth, several times. Then, using a camel's hair 
brush, remove lint that may have been left by the cloth. 


If your projector has a still picture attachment, set the lever 
at "still picture" and throw the switch, to operate the motor 
and to turn on the lamp. Doing this will illuminate the aper- 
ture, so that you may see any dust, remaining after your 
cleaning, and it will set the projector's fan in motion, to blow 
lint away. 

Remove the lens and brush the edges of the aperture, to 
remove dust. Clean the surfaces of the lens with lens tissue 
or with a soft, well laundered handkerchief. Follow the instruc- 
tion manual, in cleaning reflectors and condenser lenses. 

After you have cleaned the projector, oil it, if necessary, 
following the manufacturer's instructions, and then thread 
into the mechanism the leader of the first reel of film that 
is to be screened. If the projector has a knob that may be 
turned by hand, to discover if the perforations have been 
engaged properly over the sprockets, revolve this several 
times, to make sure that your threading is correct. Be sure 
that the end of the film is attached securely to the takeup 
reel. It is most embarrassing to find, during the showing, 
that the projected footage has piled up on the floor at your 

Now, after throwing the switches to start the motor and 
to turn on the lamp, engage the clutch (if your projector 
has one), to operate the mechanism. While the machine is 
running, center the picture on the screen and adjust the 
distance between projector and screen, so that the image 
exactly fills the latter's white area. It should not "spill over." 

While the machine is running, focus the lens, to make the 
image sharp. This should not be done while the mechanism 
is set for still picture projection, because heat from the lamp 
may cause film to buckle slightly, in the gate; the resultant 
focus will differ from that which should obtain when the 
machine is in operation. 

After the image has been centered on the screen and the 
focus has been adjusted, reverse the mechanism and return 
the film to the starting point the first frame of the main 


title. Then, disengage the clutch, turn off light and motor 
and set the switch for normal projection. 

Now you are ready for your guests. Later, when the room 
is darkened, turn on the motor and, after it, the projector 
lamp and, finally, engage the clutch. The show is on! The 
picture that flashes on the screen is in perfect focus, and there 
will be no interruptions until you stop, to change reels. 

Projector lamps will give longer service, if you take care 
of them. If your projector has a variable resistance (a device 
for changing the amount of electric current that is admitted 
to the lamp), turn this to its lowest point, before you start 
the projection. Then, with the machine running, raise the 
illumination gradually to the desired intensity. 

Do not operate the projector so slowly that the picture will 
flicker, because doing this will shorten the lamp's life; more- 
over, it will create an unpleasant effect for the audience. 
When a projector is operated too slowly, the fan, which cools 
the lamp, also runs too slowly, with the result that the lamp 
will be overheated. To approximate the normal projection 
rate of sixteen frames a second, you should first operate the 
motor slowly and, then, gradually increase its speed, until no 
flicker is evident in the projected picture. 

Shall we talk? 

The question of what to do while your movies are projected 
is a delicate one. You will inevitably be tempted to "explain" 
the picture to the audience. Of course, since the "theatre" is 
your own home and the audience is made up of your guests, 
you will not want to adopt the impersonal attitude of a 
theatrical projectionist. On the other hand, if you offer a 
running commentary of casual observations, such as "Now, 
you will see the Grand Canyon I moved the camera there 
slightly wait a minute I forgot that isn't the Grand 
Canyon it's Bryce Canyon," your audience cannot enjoy the 
movie, however good it may be. 


The well planned silent film should need no explanations; 
if you wrote your titles, so that you carefully avoided "tipping 
off" your audience to what it will see next, you should not 
commit that very fault in casual conversation. Let your pic- 
tures speak for themselves. You will naturally answer ques- 
tions that may be asked by anybody who is particularly 
interested in something that you have not explained fully, 
in titles. 

Oilier films 

Your own films may be sufficiently varied and interesting, 
to make up a well balanced evening's program. If they are 
not, take advantage of the diversified offerings of film libra- 
ries. You may buy some of these, for use from time to time, 
or you may prefer to rent them for an occasion. An extensive 
assortment of silent and sound 16mm. films and of 8mm. 
silent subjects is available, among them dramas, "shorts," 
current newsreels of important events, cartoons and "comics." 
Industrial and publicity pictures may be borrowed without 
fee. Even if you have enough material of your own, you can, 
by adding a commercial movie to the program, give your 
guests better entertainment. 

Formal showings 

A formal movie showing, at a club, church or school, in- 
volves more careful planning. For these occasions, a projector 
that will accommodate reels of larger capacity is desirable, 
so that the presentation may take place without interruption, 
although two projectors might be used alternately. While one 
machine is running, you can thread the mechanism of the 
second and make it ready to continue the projection, when 
the reel in the first has been shown. With practice, you can 
change from one projector to another, without interrupting 
the continuity of the screen images. As soon as the last 
scene of the first reel nears its end, the motor of the second 
projector is started. The lamp of the first projector is switched 


off, at the instant in which the lamp of the second projector 
is turned on. 

The auditorium in which the films will be screened should 
be inspected, well in advance of the actual presentation. 
Investigate the electric current supply, to determine, beyond 
question, whether it is alternating or direct. If your projector 
has a switch that is marked for both kinds of current, this 
should be set to agree with the type that is supplied to the 
hall where your films will be shown. If your machine is not 
designed for use with the electric current that is delivered 
to the auditorium, a suitable projector must be secured. 

Locate the electrical outlet that is to be used for your 
projection and determine whether you have a cable, long 
enough to reach from it to the projector, when this is placed 
in position, for screening. 

What must be the distance from projector to screen? 
It may be necessary to place the projector so far away that, 
if it is shown with a regular projection lens, the picture will 
be too large for the screen. You can meet this difficulty with 
a lens of greater focal length (a term that is discussed in 
Chapter XV) or you may be able to move the projector or 
the screen. 

A screen that is permanently installed in public auditoriums 
may be dusty, spotted and yellowed by age, or its surface may 
be cracked. It is advisable to use a screen, specially secured 
for the occasion, to avoid the disappointment and anger that 
you will feel, if the brilliance of your most beautiful shots 
is dimmed by a yellow screen of "magic lantern" vintage. 

You will, as a matter of course, go carefully over the pro- 
jector and the films that will be screened in it. Take every 
precaution, for it is most embarrassing to be the maestro of 
a movie program that "fizzled." 

Carry an extra projection lamp and a pair of gloves, for use, 
if you have to remove a lamp that had burned out, during the 
screening. The bulb, to be replaced, will be too hot to touch 
immediately, without some protection for your hands. Movie 


makers who give frequent programs outside their own homes 
carry extra projection lamps, lengths of electric cord, "two 
way" electric plugs and gloves, in a kit, housed in the pro- 
jector case. 

If you are asked to project in the daytime, assure yourself 
in advance that some adequate means have been provided 
to exclude sunlight. Those who have no experience with movies 
do not realize the extent to which a small ray of extraneous 
light may dim the brilliance of a projected picture, and they 
are likely to be optimistic about the possibility of darkening 
the room sufficiently, for good movie projection. 


As we learned in Chapter III, screens with beaded, matte 
white and silver surfaces are available. Different housings and 
supports are also offered. Some screens are rolled into a box 
which is opened for projection; the screen is pulled up and 
is held erect by rear supports; the box may be set upon a 
table or a shelf. 

Other screens have tripods that eliminate the need for a 
detached support. They also may be rolled, when they are 
not in use (the tripod support being collapsible) , so that the 
whole unit is compact and portable. Some of the roller screens 
are so designed that they may be attached to a wall, as well 
as supported on a table. 

The size of the screen that you will use most frequently 
will depend upon the power of the lamp that you habitually 
employ in the projector and upon the size of the room in 
which most of your movies will be shown. The average screen 
for 16mm. projection at home varies from eighteen by twenty 
four inches to thirty six by forty eight inches in size. 

Your own theatre 

Some movie makers fit out a basement or an attic as a little 
movie theatre. A projection booth, equipped with glass covered 
portholes, is built at one end of the room and a screen is 


installed permanently at the other end. The screen can be 
covered by a curtain that is drawn open for projection. A 
rheostat may be provided for the room lights, so that they 
may be dimmed gradually, as in a commercial theatre. A 
proscenium can be built around the screen, and colored lights 
may be provided for its arch. One may go as far as he wishes, 
in emulating the mechanics of the movie theatre. If any special 
wiring is installed, this should be done by a competent 

Your projector, as well as your camera, is a mechanism of 
precision. It deserves careful treatment and an occasional 
overhauling at the factory where it was built. Summer is a 
good season for this periodical examination, the cost of which 
is slight. 

Caring for film 

Storing film, either black and white or full color, presents 
no special difficulties in the average home. The one essential 
precaution is to refrain from keeping your reels close to a 
steam radiator, steam pipe, stove, chimney or other heat 
producer. Heat or extremely dry air causes the moisture, 
present in films, to evaporate, and, if this evaporation con- 
tinues for some time, film may become brittle. Hence, the best 
storage place in the average home is a shelf near the floor 
of an unheated closet. 

It has been found that the optimum in storage conditions 
calls for a temperature of approximately fifty degrees, Fahren- 
heit, and a humidity of about fifty percent. These conditions 
represent the ideal, and a reasonable deviation from them does 
not cause the slightest damage to film. 

It is not necessary to humidify film, unless it has been 
subjected to extreme dryness or unless it has been projected 
continuously for a fairly long time. If film has dried until it 
has become brittle, this condition can be rectified, by placing 
the film and a small square of damp blotting paper within an 


airtight container. In twenty four hours, the film will again 
be pliable. 

Do not permit water to come in contact with film, because 
it softens emulsion; this softening will cause the coils of film 
in a reel to adhere. In humidifying, one must be sure that the 
damp blotting paper does not touch the film itself. Koda- 
chrome is especially sensitive to damage from excessive 

Films present about the same storage problems that we 
encounter in dealing with books. The chief requirement is to 
protect them from dust and from excessive dryness or damp- 
ness. The ordinary, metal film can serves excellently, as a per- 
manent container. Various types of cabinets and portable 
boxes, for storing and carrying film reels, may be purchased. 
Steel storage cabinets may also be built to order. 

One need not fear that, in the course of years, his films 
will shrink or stretch to an extent that will prevent projec- 
tion. Careful tests have shown that maximum changes in film 
length do not exceed the tolerance of projectors that are 
commercially available. 

Recent tests, conducted by the United States Bureau of 
Standards, have shown that cellulose acetate, the material 
that is used in making what is commonly known as "safety 
film," upon which all 16mm. and 8mm. movies are recorded, 
is a remarkably stable composition. Therefore, this film is 
widely used by museums and libraries, in which photographic 
and cinematographic records are preserved. 

Although movie film is a stable composition and although 
a carefully handled reel may be projected more than five 
hundred times without showing signs of wear*, it is always 
possible that valuable footage may be scratched, through 
mishandling or by allowing the projector to accumulate emul- 
sion which hardens. This is film's worst enemy. Keeping 

* Practicing movie makers have reported that they have projected both 
black and white and color films as often, without noticeable ill effect, 


projection equipment in order and cleaning it frequently will 
prevent this kind of damage. 

When you rewind film, do not tighten the coils, by holding 
the reel in one hand and pulling the loose end of the ribbon 
with the other. This practice, known as "cinching," causes the 
coils to rub against each other, so that, if the smallest grains 
of dust are present, the emulsion will inevitably be scratched. 

If an original black and white or full color film is espe- 
cially valuable, one may preserve it from danger of mishaps 
during projection, by having it duplicated. The duplicate 
footage is used for ordinary projection, while the original reel 
is preserved carefully and is used, only, if a duplicate is not 
available. Any number of duplicates may be made, which 
will be of excellent quality. Full color pictures may be 
duplicated either in color or in black and white. 

Special treatments designed to preserve film, and to aid 
in protecting it against wear, are offered to movie makers. 
Certain of these minimize the danger of film damage. 

Sound accompaniment 

Movies are sometimes more entertaining, if they are ac- 
companied by suitable music, which can be provided, by 
playing phonograph records during the screening. An ordinary 
phonograph may be used for the purpose, but a smoother 
presentation is possible with a dual turntable assembly which 
was developed for this use. 

This assembly consists of two turntables upon which records 
are played, each of which is equipped with a "pickup" and a 
"volume control." The electrical pickups are connected to an 
"amplifier" and a "loud speaker," which may be those of 
a household radio or which may be found in a special unit, 
to be placed on the floor below the screen. 

The "dual turntable" is so designed that one may change 
from the music of one record to that of another, without 
interruption in the continuity of the sound. It is also possible 
to play two records at the same time. For example, while one 


record provides soft "background music," another might be 
played on the second turntable, to produce suitable "sound 
effects" that would match the action of the picture. 

The records and the dual turntable unit are generally placed 
beside the projector, so that one can operate both mechanisms 
at once. Some persons are so adept at fitting music and appro- 
priate sound effects to the picture and at manipulating records, 
that the final result is very like a "sound on film" movie. 

There is a great variety of phonograph records from which 
you can effect a combination of music and movie, to suit your 
own taste. The procedure, in planning a musical "score" for 
a movie, is, first, to review the film and to determine the 
general mood or emotion that is produced by each of its 
sections. For example, a movie of a journey from city to 
country might be divided into these sections which are based 
upon the moods that they evoke: (1) introductory sequences 
excitement, city atmosphere; (2) country fair gay, light; 
(3) farm and scenic shots peaceful, pastoral. 

When this division has been made, it is not difficult to find 
recorded music, to fit each mood. Frequent changes of music 
should be avoided, because of the difficulty of manipulating 
numerous records. It is best to change records while a title is 
on the screen, because the caption usually indicates a shift in 
mood. We diminish the volume of music from the first record, 
when the title appears on the screen, and, as the sound dies 
away, the volume of the second record is increased, to reach 
the desired level, as the title ends and the next scene appears. 

Every imaginable sound is recorded on standard phono- 
graph discs. Such widely differing noises as "freight train 
passing," "coffee percolating," "man walking on gravel road," 
"steamboat whistle continuous" are catalogued for use with 
corresponding movie scenes. They are widely sold and they 
are inexpensive. Skill and practice are, of course, requisite for 
a successful use of these interesting adjuncts of projection. 

In addition to musical and sound accompaniments, a narra- 
tion, or commentary, can be given vocally. The operator may 


speak into a microphone that is connected with the assembly 
or he may have his remarks recorded on a disc which can be 
played on one of the turntables. There are studios where 
records of narration may be made at very reasonable cost. 
Using a recorded commentary is generally preferable to speak- 
ing into a microphone. 

It is possible to make one's own records of voice, music or 
sound effects, on discs, by employing recorders that are 
available. These devices look very much like electrically oper- 
ated phonographs, and they are not difficult to use. One speaks 
or plays into a microphone, and a record is automatically 
produced on a disc. The discs are made of a special material; 
they are inexpensive; they can be "played back" immediately 
on the recorder itself, on any double turntable or on phono- 
graphs that employ discs. The recorders are compact and 
easily portable, and they may be set up anywhere. A special 
model is available, by means of which large records can be 
made, so that a single disc can serve to accompany an entire 
400 foot reel. 


INDOOR movie making offers us the special advantage of 
filming at leisure. We can set up a tripod carefully, with- 
out the interruptions that we may encounter out of doors; 
we can plan scenes and viewpoints comfortably. 

Our whole house is a potential movie studio, and the inci- 
dents of our daily life make fascinating subjects. Nor is it 
difficult to take pictures indoors, for fast film, fast lenses and 
the "flood bulb" have banished the need of powerful or numer- 
ous lighting units and heavy cables. Today, one can make 
movies inside his home as freely as he makes them out of 
doors. You need not clutter a room with equipment, to take 
pictures in it. 

Lenses of high speed, with apertures as large as //1. 9, are 
available for both 8mm. and 16mm. cameras. Others, even 
faster, with speeds of //1. 8, //1. 5 or //1. 4 are also offered. Fast 
black and white film is spooled for both 8mm. and 16mm. 
cameras, although, at present, the most sensitive of all emul- 
sions is limited to the 16mm. width. 

Flood bulbs 

The invention of flood bulbs has been a factor, as important 
as fast lenses and fast film, in simplifying indoor movie mak- 
ing. These electric lamps, which look like ordinary frosted 
household bulbs, burn with high intensity, generating a very 
great amount of light from the relatively small quantity of 
current which they consume. But the life of the inexpensive 



flood bulbs is only a few hours, so most filmers burn them at 
full intensity, only when the camera is operated. 

Flood bulbs of three sizes are commonly used by movie 
makers. The first, known as No. 1, gives illumination that is 
approximately equal to that of an ordinary lamp, rated at 
750 watts; the second, or No. 2, is twice as powerful as No. 1, 
and the third, the No. 4, produces light that is four times as 
strong as that of No. 1. No. 1 and No. 2 have the familiar 
screw bases that fit standard household sockets, while No. 4 
has a "mogul base" which fits only the large sockets that are 
specially designed for that purpose. 

There are two varieties of flood bulbs. The type that is most 
commonly used emits light which is richer in red rays than is 
daylight; the other type employs blue tinted glass which gives 
to its illumination a color that is practically the same as that 
of daylight. Either type may be used with black and white 
film. The particular advantage of the blue tinted lamp is 
found in the fact that, when regular Kodachrome is exposed 
by its light, the special filter, which would be needed with 
white flood bulbs, is not required. 

Some flood bulbs incorporate their own reflecting surfaces, 
which are provided by adding a silver finish to the bowl 
shaped part of the lamps. They give the same results that 
would be obtained from ordinary flood bulbs, employed with 
small, highly polished reflectors. 

Lighting indoor scenes 

With the fast lenses and the extra fast black and white 
film at our disposal today, we can make a satisfactory movie 
shot in a room that is well lighted by ordinary household 
lamps. It is not imperative that we increase this normal illu- 
mination, to get a passable scene. However, the best pictures 
are not made with just a minimum of lighting, and, since it 
is so easy to obtain plenty of it, by the use of flood bulbs, 
there is no reason why one should hamper himself by meager 



Flood bulbs may be screwed into overhead electrical fixtures, 
wall brackets and domestic lighting units, such as floor, table 
and desk lamps. Shades may be removed from floor and table 
lamps, if they are outside the lens field, to illuminate the 
scene. A shaded lamp, within the scene, also may be used as 
a light source; if this is done, the ordinary bulb is replaced by 
a flood bulb and the lamp is put in such a position that its 
light will be cast on the subject. Three No. 1, or two No. 2, 
unshaded flood bulbs will produce adequate illumination for 
a home movie scene that is to be filmed with an //S.5 lens or 
with one that is faster, and with moderately fast film. The 
illustrations show several of the numerous lighting arrange- 
ments that are possible in the average home. 

A high light from the table lamp is well supple- 
mented by general indirect illumination. 



Good general illumination can be helped by 
using a natural lighting source. 

A simple plan which will produce a natural 
lighting effect. 


No.4 4 


Indirect light is especially good for filming chil- 
dren, as it will not cause them to squint. 

Strong side lighting, produced by daylight, needs 
to be supplemented by flood bulbs. 


One of the simplest and most effective movie lighting plans 
is carried out, by directing the rays of a powerful lamp toward 
a white or light colored ceiling. The ceiling reflects a soft, 
diffused illumination over the whole room; this is an excellent 
light for movie making. 

It is easy to obtain this type of lighting, by using a floor 
lamp that is designed to give indirect illumination and by 
replacing the ordinary bulb in the lamp's reflector with a No. 4 
flood bulb. An indirect floor lamp is usually fitted with the 
mogul socket that is required by this larger light source. 
If a lamp of this kind is not available, almost any reflecting 
unit, that can be turned upward, may be used. Special lighting 
assemblies are offered commercially that will meet this need 
very efficiently. 

The process of lighting a movie scene well does not stop 
with providing enough illumination to get good exposures. 
If we want to produce really interesting and beautiful scenes, 
we must control the direction and the intensity of the light. 

In the discussion of outdoor filming, we learned that, if the 
illumination came from behind the camera, flat lighting was 
produced, which makes uninteresting black and white shots. 
But we also found that, if the greater part of the light came 
from one side of the camera, shadows were cast, to model the 
subject and to create a far more attractive picture. 

These principles hold true indoors, but we have the added 
advantage of being able to control the placement of the lamps. 
Out of doors, we were limited to shifting the camera view- 
point, with reference to the direction of the sun's rays, but, 
now, we can either shift the viewpoint or move the lights. 

Furthermore, indoors, we can, and usually do, use more 
than one source of illumination; with the additional lights, 
we can create effects that are far more subtle than those 
which we can get out of doors. 

Side lighting 

We may give overall illumination to a scene by the methods 
that have just been described and we may then produce the 


effect of side lighting, by placing another lamp at one side 
of the subject. The same scene may be back lighted, by plac- 
ing still another lamp, so that its rays will fall on the rear of 
the subject. 

A widely used lighting arrangement is obtained, by placing 
lamps, as they are shown in Figure 1, on page 196. Two light 
sources are used, one of which is placed on one side of the 
subject, and the second, on the other. Both lights are turned 
toward the subject at an angle of about forty five degrees. 

One light source is made stronger than the other, to avoid 
the flatness of balanced illumination. To increase the relative 
strength of the light on one side of the subject, we can: 
(1) move one lamp closer to the subject; (2) place a more 
powerful lamp on one side of the subject; (3) place two lamps 
on one side and one lamp on the other. 

This generally serviceable method of using two light sources 
that are placed at forty five degree angles, with reference to 
the subject, and of making one of these stronger than the other 
always produces excellent results. The stronger light, on one 
side, casts shadows that give the subject form and depth in 
our two dimensional pictures, while the weaker light, on the 
other side, decreases these shadows, so that they will not be 
too dark and so that they will show more details. 

There are numerous variations of this basic method of 
lighting a movie scene. For example, the weaker light source, 
on one side, might be replaced by a reflector which would 
throw illumination back to the shadow side; also, the scene 
might be given sufficient general light, from overhead flood 
bulbs, and the effect of unbalanced illumination and the de- 
sired shadows might be obtained from a single lamp, placed 
at one side of the subject. Here, there is enough overall 
illumination to lighten the shadows on the other side. 

A third variant of our basic scheme provides general illu- 
mination, by any convenient means, and casts a high light on 
one side of the subject, by placing near it a shaded table lamp 



OP floor lamp, into which a flood bulb has been inserted. The 
effect that is created is pleasant and natural, because the high 
light comes obviously from the familiar light source that the 
audience sees in the picture. 

Back lighting 

After he has arranged lamps, to throw more light on one 
side of the subject than on the other, in order to get the bene- 
fit of side lighting, a movie maker can further improve his 
scene by illumination behind the subject. This is shown in 
Figure 2. 

Figure 1. The simplest arrange- 
ment for satisfactory lighting. 

Figure 2. A logical placement of 
a third light. 

This back lighting gives the scene an illusion of depth. Be- 
cause of the different planes of illumination, the subject seems 
to "stand out," producing an effect which is most important, 
if whatever you are filming is near a wall; without some 
illumination from the rear, in this case, your subject may 
appear, in the two dimensional picture on the screen, to be in 
the same plane as that of the wall itself. 


A further refinement in our basic plan is obtained from 
additional lamps, so placed that their rays will create special 
high lights, wherever these may be desired. Emphasis may be 
given to faces, in this manner. 

We see, therefore, that the different steps in a simple, but 
very effective, plan of indoor lighting for movies are: pro- 
viding sufficient overall illumination, to permit a good exposure 
at a middle range lens stop, such as //3.5 or f/4.5; "building 
up" the picture, by adding lamps, to produce side lighting and 
to give depth and roundness; casting high lights on special 
areas or objects; and intensifying the illusion of a third dimen- 
sion, with back lighting. 

In black and white filming, we may combine sunlight, that 
enters through a window, with the light of flood bulbs. Some 
scenes that are made near a large window may require nothing 
but natural light, but a reflector should always be placed on 
their shadow sides. If you are using outdoor color film in- 
doors, however, daylight and floodlight cannot be mixed 
unless the bulbs are of the blue-glass type. For a complete 
discussion of color film lighting, see Chapter XVII. 

Special lighting equipment 

Good movies can be made, by using flood bulbs in household 
lamps and in regular lighting fixtures and by placing the lights 
in proper relation to the subject, but, obviously, one cannot 
control the results as effectively in this way as he could, if 
he used lighting equipment that is specially designed for 
movie making. 

There are special lighting units which have efficient reflec- 
tors that will direct light according to your desire; they permit 
you to use the full power of the flood bulb or of any other 

The simplest of these special units comprises a lamp socket 
and a small reflector that may be clamped on a table or on a 
chair. This device is convenient and inexpensive; since the 
clamps are covered with rubber, they will not mar furniture. 


Another very useful lighting aid is provided by a pair of 
sockets and two reflectors, which are mounted on a collapsible 
stand. Each socket will accommodate one No. 1 or one No. 2 
flood bulb; when the lamps in both reflectors are turned on, 
a wealth of illumination is produced. This device can be 
dismantled quickly and it may be packed in a small space. 

Spotlights, that employ either flood bulbs or special types 
of lamps, extend the range of home movie lighting. Many of 
these permit you to vary the area of their light beams, so that 
you can provide a high light of greater or smaller cir- 
cumference, at will. Decreasing the area of light beams will 
increase their intensity. 

Commercially available equipment, that is specially de- 
signed to illuminate movie scenes, is inexpensive, light in 
weight and compact. One need not hesitate to contemplate 
indoor shots that would require its use. 

Since flood bulbs have a relatively limited life, if they are 
burned at full strength, a device, which will permit you to 
reduce the amount of current that is admitted to them, when 
the camera is not in action, is desirable. A switch, known as a 
"hi lo," which may be connected to the cord of the lighting 
unit, can be found in any electrical supply store. This switch, 
that will provide light of two intensities, is turned to the 
"low" position, while you arrange the lamps, and to the "high" 
position, when you start the camera. 

When they are burned at full strength, No. 1 flood bulbs 
draw two and two tenths amperes of electricity, No. 2 bulbs 
draw four and four tenths amperes and No. 4 bulbs, eight and 
seven tenths amperes. Therefore, only six No. 1 bulbs, three 
No. 2 bulbs or one No. 4 bulb may be used on any one elec- 
tric circuit, which is "fused" for fifteen amperes. Houses and 
apartments are provided with several circuits, as a rule, so 
that some of the lamps may burn on one of these and some on 
another; placing lamps in this way lessens the probability of 
"blowing a fuse." To replace a fuse of lower amperage with 
one of higher amperage is generally inadvisable; under no 


circumstances should one bridge the fuse contacts with a coin 
or with a piece of metal. 

Placing lamps 

Lamps must be so placed that direct rays from an unshaded 
light will not strike the lens. Units that are equipped with 
reflectors can be turned away from the camera, but one must 
be very careful, if he uses unshaded flood bulbs. 

A lamp that is so placed as to provide back lighting must 
be shaded to prevent its direct rays from reaching the lens. 
Sometimes, one can conceal a lamp behind the subject, to 
guard against lens flare, which has already been discussed. 

Unshaded light sources should not be visible in a scene, 
as you observe it in the viewfinder. Shaded floor lamps and 
table lamps, as we have learned earlier, may become parts 
of an indoor movie setting, where they will give a very natural 

A deep lens hood serves to exclude direct rays of light from 
the lens, and it is especially convenient, if back lighting is 

When lamps are used, that have open reflectors, the in- 
tensity of the light that they cast on a subject varies with 
the square of the distance from the subject to the light source. 
Therefore, if we move a lamp only slightly, we shall have 
changed the illumination quite perceptibly. Hence, we can 
increase the effect of any particular lamp to an important 
degree, by moving it nearer to the subject. We must not move 
the lamps after we have calculated the exposure and after 
we have set the diaphragm of the lens. The camera may be 
moved forward or backward, without changing the requisite 
exposure, but this will be affected, if lamps are shifted. 

In planning a lighting arrangement, polished surfaces in the 
scene should be examined carefully, to make sure that they 
do not contain reflections of lighting units. Varnished or waxed 
wood, glazed pictures and metal objects may present mirrored 
images of the light source. Survey the scene carefully in the 


viewfinder, to discover anything that may give this undesired 
effect, which can readily, be obviated, by moving the lamps 
or, perhaps, the troublesome objects. 

Artistic effects 

The experienced indoor filmer arranges his illumination, 
as if he were "painting" a scene with light. He knows that 
shadows really make the picture, for it is only by means of 
their shadows that objects achieve the effect of roundness and 
plasticity. The face of a pretty girl, for example, will be flat 
and uninteresting in a black and white scene, unless the illu- 
mination is so arranged that her features will be emphasized 
by the delicate shadows which they cast. 

The careful movie maker knows the value of diffusing agents 
which are employed to soften the "hard" rays of light. One 
may diffuse the light of a flood bulb, which is fitted into a re- 
flector, by the simple expedient of holding a thin white silk 
handkerchief in front of it. Various fabrics, such as netting or 
scrim, will modify the illumination, to the extent that is 

Correct exposure for indoor shots 

Lighting tables and exposure guides will help us to deter- 
mine the correct diaphragm openings that should be used, in 
filming interior scenes that are illuminated artificially. From 
these tables, we can also determine the number of flood bulbs 
and the distances between them and the subject that we must 
employ, to produce a well exposed scene, at a given diaphragm 
opening. Here, the distance from a lamp to the subject has a 
definite effect; therefore, we must measure this distance care- 
fully when we use interior lighting tables. If the lights should 
be shifted to a new position, the tables must be consulted 
again, and the recommended exposure for the revised dis- 
tances must be used. 

Exposure meters are very serviceable, in indoor filming. 
When a meter is employed, to determine exposures for interior 


scenes, it shpuld be held close to the subject, as we see it in 
the illustration. Care should be taken, to prevent the direct 
rays of an unshaded lamp from striking the exposure meter, 
because the very strong light that comes from such a lamp 
would produce a higher reading than the subject required. 

Wrong: Too much dark area is Right: Only the illuminated 

included in the meter's field. affects the meter. 

If one reads a meter as he stands near the camera, the read- 
ing may be affected by dark areas that are outside the range 
of the lamps. 

The exposure that will be used for an interior scene which 
includes several items of interest should be determined from 
readings that are taken in the darker parts of the scene and 
from others that are taken in the lighter parts. These readings 
should be averaged, in order to obtain a generally satisfactory 
diaphragm setting. Sometimes you will have several persons, 
in the scene, who are wearing dark clothing. If you determine 
an exposure for this scene by the method of averaging several 
readings, the dark garments will influence the result too 
strongly, as compared to the faces; therefore, you should take 
a reading of one of the countenances and you should use this, 
even if it is incorrect for the clothing. 

An exposure meter may serve us when we arrange lights 
for an interior scene. We shall often want to know whether 
the illumination provided by one lamp is stronger than that 


of another, so that we may secure a desired high light or an 
artistically unbalanced effect. We cannot always determine 
this fact by inspection, but our meter will give accurate in- 
formation. Again, a meter will keep us within the safe bounds 
of light variation in interior filming. The most brilliantly il- 
luminated part of a scene should not give a reading that 
differs from that of its darkest area by more than three dia- 
phragm stops, if the picture is to be really well exposed. 

The wide angle lens 

A wide angle lens, which includes a larger field than that 
which is afforded by the lens that is ordinarily used on a cam- 
era, facilitates a variety of indoor shots. For example, a movie 
maker, who is filming in a room of average size, may meet an 
obstruction, when he attempts to move his camera farther 
from the subject, in order to get a larger view of it. This ob- 
struction may be a piece of furniture that can be moved onty 
with difficulty or it may be a wall that cannot be moved, at 
all. He can solve this problem, by employing a wide angle 
lens; with it, he can obtain a larger view of the subject, with- 
out moving the camera farther from it. 

Wide angle lenses are invaluable to a movie maker who 
films indoors; they are also useful in outdoor movie making. 

A wide angle lens includes a larger field than that which is 
covered by the viewfinders of average lenses; so, one must 
allow for this factor, in determining the limits of a scene that 
will be filmed with this convenient accessory. Adjustable view- 
finders, that meet the needs of this situation, are discussed 
in Chapter XV. 

Special lighting effects 

The effect of firelight may be produced without a fire, by 
placing a single flood bulb reflector unit in an empty fireplace 
and by arranging the principal subjects in front of it, so that 
only the light, and not the unit itself, may be seen. You may 
place the lamp in a corner of the fireplace, which should be 



outside the area of the scene, or you may depend upon the 
subjects, to hide the lamp from the camera's view. 

A silhouette can be filmed, by placing the subject in front 
of a light colored wall, upon which a flood of illumination 
has been directed. No light should be permitted to play upon 
the subject from the direction of the camera, because the side 
that faces away from the wall must be in deep shadow. The 
strong reflections from the brightly lighted background will 
illuminate the subject from the rear, with the result that it 
will be sharply silhouetted, in the screen picture. 

The mildest mannered person of your acquaintance may 
acquire a truly diabolical aspect, if you will light his face 
from below, by means of a lamp that is placed on the floor 
in front of him and out of camera range. 

Brilliant and fairly even lighting will give to a scene the 
effect of gaiety, while sombreness and gloom may be suggested 
by large areas of shadow. 

A moonlit scene is easily simulated in color filming, by 
exposing indoor color film in daylight and by using a dia- 
phragm opening that will cause a slight underexposure. A still 
smaller diaphragm opening will give the effect of greater dark- 
ness. Daylight that enters a room through a window can be 
made to look like moonlight, if it is filmed in this manner. 


With the fastest black and white emulsion, many scenes can 
be taken at night, without strong lights. You may film a 
man's face by the illumination of a match, cupped in his 
hands, as he lights a cigarette; a flashlight will enable you to 
record a face in a darkened room; children can be filmed, as 
they play by a hearth, with no illumination except that which 
comes from the flames in the fireplace. 

Filming indoors in public places 

You can make movie shots of indoor sports, such as wres- 
tling, boxing and hockey, because arenas where these are 
carried on are, in most instances, sufficiently lighted to insure 
good results, if fast black and white film is used. The only 
difficulty that we encounter is that of finding the correct ex- 
posure. A meter reading that is taken from a seat in the audi- 
ence will not serve, because it will be affected by the large 
dark area that surrounds the brilliantly illuminated space 
where the action takes place. One must take the meter closer, 
so that its field will include only the well lighted area. The 
difficulty arises from the fact that we cannot always take the 
meter closer, with the result that we must frequently omit 
this reading and depend upon our judgment alone. 

Theatrical performances and brightly lighted spectacles in 
night clubs may be filmed in black and white or in color. An 
exposure of approximately //1. 9 for indoor color film 
usually gives excellent results. If the performers are illumi- 
nated by a number of powerful spotlights, less exposure may 
be required. 

Indoor swimming pools, gymnasiums and field houses are 
generally too poorly lighted to permit the use of any film 
except the fastest black and white emulsion. If you want to 
insure perfect exposures in these places, your best guide is 
an actual test. 

Filming outdoor night scenes 

By using black and white or color film, you can get footage 


of theatre marquees, electric signs, lighted shop windows and 
brilliantly illuminated metropolitan areas, when you film at 
night. The best time to make these shots is at dusk, just after 
the lights have appeared. Then there is still enough daylight 
to illuminate some of the areas in the scene that, later, would 
be recorded as completely black. 

For color shots of electric signs, use indoor color film 
and open the diaphragm to a stop of about //1. 9, if you want 
brilliant results. A much smaller opening should be used for 
the fastest black and white film, which is so sensitive that 
you can get good footage with it, even in such places as 
restaurants and shops, if these are brightly lighted by normal 

Night scenes in the woods may be filmed, by lighting a 
magnesium flare, which will illuminate a circle with a radius 
of about fifteen feet; in this area, one can record the action 
with black and white film or with indoor color film. 

Some indoor themes 

Of all indoor filming occasions, Christmas is probably the 
most popular. And it is deservedly so, because its atmosphere 
of excitement and color provides excellent opportunities for 

You may use scenes about town, that show preparations for 
Christmas, as an introduction. Shop windows bulge with gifts. 
Children's faces press eagerly against the panes. Santa Clauses 
and Salvation Army lassies are active at every corner and 
the streets are bright with wreaths and colored lights. The 
giant community Christmas tree makes a good picture and 
a nice transition from these scenes of general interest to the 
more specific incidents of home. 

Once inside our own doors, an attractive galaxy of activity 
invites our camera's attention. The knowing filmer will use 
many closeups and semi closeups, as he records the pleasant 
task of addressing Christmas cards and the joy of reading 
the greetings of others. Hands are seen, as they wrap and tie 



gifts in a bright assortment of papers and ribbons. Quiet fun 
can be suggested, as Mother and Dad succeed, by various 
subterfuges, in concealing from each other the bulky pack- 
ages that will appear as surprises with tomorrow's tree. 

But the children of the family are the subjects of first 
importance in any Christmas film; so we soon turn to their 
eagerness and to their many activities. The proverbial letter 
to Santa, filmed in medium shots, semi closeups and closeups, 

makes a fine sequence. The ceremony of hanging the children's 
stockings, enlivened, perhaps, by little Tommy's trick of 
exchanging his own short sock for Mother's more commodious 
gift receiver, is good material for our Christmas movie. In 
many families, the well loved songs and stories of the season 
form a part of the ceremony at Christmas Eve; they offer de- 
lightful opportunities for good shots that will give the atmos- 
phere of holiday time. 

On Christmas Day itself, there are two predominant sub- 
jects the happy hullabaloo around the tree, as the gifts 
are opened, and the colorful feast of Christmas dinner. In film- 
ing either of them, it is well to plan for an even distribution 
of footage between medium shots of the whole activity and 
closer shots of the significant details that enliven it. Try to 


capture the expressions of the children, as they pounce on 
their presents and reveal each new surprise. Follow these 
shots with brief, individual closeups of the more attractive 
gifts and, later, insert them ahead of the shots that show the 
youngsters' delight. Treat the adults in the same way, and 
stage, if you like, a little scene of humorous action, in which 
Dad gets the inevitable gaudy necktie, or Mother, a dozen 
handkerchiefs from each member of the family. Arrange, if 
need be, an interesting jumble of torn wrappings and twisted 
ribbons, and end your sequence with a shot of it. 

At dinner, much the same procedure may be followed with 
good effect. There will be medium shots that show the entire 
setting and the arrangements of the table; semi closeups that 
feature each guest in turn; and a series of closeups of the well 
cooked bird, the bright jellies and the plum pudding, wreathed 
in holly and dancing blue flames. 

Birthdays are popular and important occasions for indoor 
filming. Here, as at Christmas, the children dominate the 
scene. We might show Dick's tenth birthday in the following 

A good beginning would present the closeup of a hand, as 
it writes and addresses invitations to the party. Not only will 
this shot suggest the subject matter that is to follow, but 
it will also give the important facts that reveal to the audi- 
ence the date of the occasion and Dick's age. Added interest 
might be brought to this action, by filming the handwriting 
in Dick's boyish scrawl. From the first closeup, we move 
backward to a semi closeup that shows both Dick and Mother, 
as they finish the task; this sequence can end with a fade out 
on a scene in which Dick drops the letters into a mailbox. 

The next scene, which fades in, might show the excitement 
and gaiety of the little guests, as they arrive. The children are 
filmed, entering the door; this should be done in a medium 
shot. Greetings are exchanged and the presents are given to 
Dick. The action shifts, now, to the living room, and we can 
show Dick opening his gifts or we can picture the games 


that have been arranged for the afternoon's fun. Here, the 
active cameraman will try to take semi closeups and closeups 
of the excited youngsters. 

At last, for the climax, comes the ceremony of the birthday 
cake, with the happy scenes around the refreshment table. In 
this action, the good filmer will get his finest sequences. Light- 
ing presents no problem, if enough flood bulbs have been placed 
in the overhead fixtures. Nobody is embarrassed, for the chil- 
dren are too eager, and too intent on the cake and the ice 
cream, to be self conscious. In a medium shot, you can show 
all the guests, as they take their places. You must follow this 
with a closer shot, when the gleaming cake is brought in, 
bright with its ten candles. It is placed ceremoniously in front 
of young Dick. 

Move very close, to film the tense moment in which he 
puffs his cheeks and blows out the wavering flames. Step back- 
ward, now, to take a medium shot, while the cake is cut and 
the plates are heaped with ice cream. The youngsters fall to! 
A series of semi closeups will record their delight, and the film 
may well end with a closeup of the crumbling remains of the 
once proud pastry. 

There is no dearth of material for indoor filming. No filmer 
should fail to get a record of family weddings; if yours is the 
kind of clan that enjoys periodical reunions, pictures of these 
will serve for the years to come, when later gatherings will 
be reminded of the past. Does the bridge club come to your 
house occasionally? Filming it may disturb the serious play- 
ers, but it will provide fun for the other guests. 

With fast emulsions and flood bulbs, the problem of light- 
ing is simple. Bring to your interior movies but a little fore- 
thought and a simple film plan, such as those we have just 
looked at, and the results will be good enough to satisfy your 
most critical friends. 


JESTING Pilate asked, "What is truth?" 
It would be most inconvenient, if our senses, particularly 
the sense of sight, told us the truth all the time, for, if 
our sight did not deceive us, the illusion of the motion picture 
itself would be impossible. 

Consequently, we welcome the facility that movies offer 
for building up whole structures of illusion, one upon another; 
indeed, this very facility is a fine outlet for our creative 

Most cine illusions are absurdly easy to produce. The real 
effect of a movie trick comes from the way in which it is 
introduced the preparatory ideas that precede it and the 
element of surprise that is involved. 

Basic tricks 

We have already examined the basic movie tricks that are 
so simply performed and that are so highly effective, when 
we employ them in the right context. The first of these 
produces an interesting mystery. After careful prearrange- 
ment and with a precise understanding by the actors of what 
will be done, we stop the camera; but, just as we do this, 
everybody who is in the scene "freezes," that is, he remains 
absolutely motionless, to the best of his ability; we then take 
something out of the scene, add something to it or change 
the position of some object that is in it, but it must be some- 
thing to which attention has been called in earlier action; 



then we start the camera. The object will appear, in projec- 
tion, to have moved of its own volition. This illusion proceeds 
from the fact that frames of film, continuously projected, 
will picture continuous action. The effectiveness of this trick 
depends upon how little the audience will realize that the 
motion has been interrupted; hence, the camera must be held 
firmly on some solid support, and everything and everybody 
in the scene must remain motionless throughout the two 

The second basic trick is that of reverse motion, by means 
of which the footage of the actual scene that was recorded 
first will, in projection, appear last. How this is accomplished 
with 16mm. silent film has already been explained, and we 
know that we have only to hold the camera upside down, 
as we take the picture, and to turn the footage end for end, 
as we edit it into the film that will be projected. 

A special condition makes it difficult to follow this pro- 
cedure with 8mm. film. Processed 8mm. footage is perforated 
on one side only, so that the film of a scene cannot be turned 
end for end, if its emulsion is to face in the same direction 
as does that of the rest of the film. 

Therefore, if one wishes to shoot an 8mm. scene with the 
camera held upside down, he must be content to splice his 
"end for end" strip into place, with its emulsion facing dif- 
ferently. If this is done, objects will be reversed from left to 
right in projection; this reversal is not particularly objection- 
able, unless printing or writing is filmed or unless wordings 
appear somewhere in the scene; these would, of course, be 
illegible. When a shot that has been recorded on 8mm. film 
by reverse motion is projected, the lens of the projector must 
be refocused, as the scene appears on the screen, because the 
image has been recorded on the emulsion, which will, by reason 
of the special splicing, be in a different vertical plane from 
that of the rest of the footage. 

These basic tricks can be used in simple, or in more complex, 
movies. Sometimes, they may be so unobtrusive that the 


audience will not be aware of any illusion. For example, if your 
film plan calls for a realistic automobile accident, you may 
ask an actor to stand directly in front of a motor car, with 
his body curved backward and with his hands thrown wildly 
upward; the car is then driven backward rapidly, while the 
actor walks backward out of the scene, in a preoccupied 

If this shot is filmed with the camera held upside down, 
the car will appear, in the projected scene, to be rushing to- 
ward the actor, and then it will seem to strike him, as he 
walks into view. The illusion may be enhanced by fast motion, 
which can be secured, by shooting the scene at a camera speed 
of twelve or of eight frames a second. This shot should be fol- 
lowed by a closeup, that is made with the camera held up- 
right, which will show the "victim" sinking to the ground, 
in front of the car. Another closeup, of the horrified driver's 
face, will complete the sequence. 

A more familiar use of reverse motion, of which the audience 
will not be aware, is found in scenes in which it will appear 
that the camera has been placed on the front of the loco- 
motive of a train that is traveling at high speed. In reality, 
the shot has been made from the observation platform at the 
rear of the train, but with the camera held upside down. 

A humorous illusion 

A humorous effect, which may be used in the film record 
of a Hallowe'en party, can easily be made. The host meets 
a guest and offers his gloved hand, which the visitor takes, 
only to find himself holding a glove that seems to cover a 
severed hand, while the host turns away, to reveal an osten- 
sibly empty sleeve. 

Suddenly, the host turns again to the guest and says, "Give 
me back my hand. I need it!" He recaptures the missing mem- 
ber with his other hand and places it on a table, near a box 
of cigars. Immediately we see the hand on the table, in a 
closeup; the arm in the empty sleeve approaches, and presto! 


the two are magically reunited; the gloved fingers flex them- 
selves, and then they select a cigar. 

Here are the steps that are required to film this trick. The 
introductory sequence, in which the guest literally "takes" 
his host's right hand, is filmed without interruption. The 
"hand" is really a stuffed glove, which is held by the host 
within his sleeve. As he asks the guest (in a spoken title) 
to return his hand, the host grasps the stuffed glove in his 
left hand, but his right sleeve still remains apparently empty. 
He moves toward the table. 

The next shot is a closeup, in which we employ the trick. 
In this scene, the empty sleeve rests on the table, as the host 
bends over it. Using his left hand for the purpose, he places 
the stuffed glove in its natural position in the empty sleeve. 
The camera is then stopped. While the host remains motion- 
less, somebody takes the stuffed glove away and carefully 
brings the host's right hand from the sleeve. This hand must 
wear a glove that is a replica of that which was stuffed, 
and it must be placed in the very position that was previously 
occupied by the stuffed glove. The camera is then started; 
after an instant, the fingers move, and the apparently reunited 
hand and arm take a cigar from the box. 

Some additional illusions 

Illusions may be created in editing. Among these is the 
closeup which appears to have been made when the scene 
was filmed, but which, actually, was "faked" later. 

The actions or the incidents of two successive scenes are 
associated automatically in the minds of the audience. If 
a character is shown, in a closeup, pointing at something that 
is not seen by the audience, the next shot will be accepted 
as one that represents the thing at which he pointed. Material 
from entirely unrelated sources may be associated in this way. 

You can, with telling effect, use footage that is taken from 
commercial library films. For example, two boys are shown 
prowling warily through the tall grass of a New Jersey meadow 


that looks like the African veldt. Suddenly, one of them stops; 
he grips the other's arm, apparently paralyzed with fear. The 
next shot, which has been cut from a library "thriller," shows 
a very live lion rushing, full tilt, at the camera. The associa- 
tion is inescapable to the audience. That lion is "going for" 
those boys! 

Another instance of trick editing is found in the familiar 
chase, that was so popular in the early "custard pie comedies." 
Up hill and down dale, through all sorts of obstacles and 
difficulties, go the chasers and the chased, always recorded 
in separate scenes. Often, these are filmed at entirely different 
times, for convenience or by necessity. 

A successful illusion results from the employment of close- 
ups that have been framed carefully, so that they exclude 
unwanted or extraneous objects from the background. By 
this device, one dilapidated stairway can serve for a whole 
haunted house. The closeup of a steer's bleached skull lying 
in a dried puddle will suggest a drought; in actuality, the skull 
was carefully prepared, and it was "planted" in a green 
meadow. Propaganda films often use this deceit. A prosperous 
village may be given an appearance of complete destitution, 
if one films only close views of several deserted hovels. 

Remember that, in the movies, things are assumed to be 
what they seem and that skimmed milk can easily masquerade 
as cream, or vice versa. The eye cannot rove beyond the 
confines of the frame that you set for it; so it is incumbent 
upon you to select that frame carefully, with thoughtful con- 
sideration of its content, so that it will tell your story force- 
fully and with simplicity. 

Shots that involve the unseen manipulation of objects in 
the scene may be considered as camera tricks. A closeup of 
the driver of a car can suggest its travel very effectively, if 
somebody shakes the body of the automobile, while the driver 
goes through the motions of steering it. In such a shot, of 
course, no stationary objects in the background should be 
included in the scene, but the subject may be outlined against 


the sky. Sometimes, the breeze that is created by an electric 
fan, which has been placed outside the lens field, can be used, 
to give realistic motion to scenes that, without this expedient, 
would have none. 

Branches of trees and other flexible objects may be bent 
into such a position that they will frame the subject. A branch 
which has been cut from an adjacent tree may be held in the 
foreground, to produce an ornamental effect in a corner of 
the frame or to cast a pleasant shadow. 

Moving small objects by invisible wires or strings and film- 
ing them in reverse motion may produce serviceable tricks. 
If you want to show the innate "cussedness" of a golf ball, 
which drops into an impossible lie, you should select the 
goal of its perversity and place the ball in it, after you have 
fastened a black linen thread to the projectile with a blob 
of sealing wax. Holding the camera upside down, you should 
then film a medium shot that shows the ball, at rest, for an 
instant, and, afterward, its travel, as you jerk it toward the 
camera by the thread, which will not be recorded, because of 
its black color. When this shot, reversed end for end, has been 
spliced into your film, it will produce a humorous effect on 
the screen, especially if it is followed by a scene of an angry 
goffer's face. 

Pointing the camera at angles that will exaggerate reality 
can emphasize certain aspects of a subject. A close upward 
angle usually makes a man look stronger and more rugged; 
hence, there is a wealth of upward angle shots of athletes. 
A downward angle tends to dwarf the subject; it may be used 
for dramatic effect, when one character in a film story intimi- 
dates another. You can tilt the camera, to give a steeper 
slope to a hill. 

Shooting in a mirror 

When a mirror is held close to the camera's lens, at an 
angle of forty five degrees to its axis, a scene will be recorded 
that is actually located at the right or left of the one toward 




A mirror, inclined to the lens axis at forty five 
degrees, will give a view of a subject placed at 
right angles to the camera. The mirror may be 
so arranged that its edge bisects the lens field; 
this arrangement will give both reflected and 
direct views in the same picture. 

which the camera points. If the field of the lens is split in 
half by the mirror, as the diagram shows, the resultant picture 
will contain two views, one of which shows a scene that lies 
straight ahead, and the other, a scene that is situated at a right 
angle to the first. The opaque backing of the mirror may be 
removed from a small area in its center; the hole that is pro- 
duced will provide, on the screen, a restricted view of what- 
ever lies straight ahead, but this will be surrounded by the 
scene that is reflected in the mirror. 

Other scenes may be made with the aid of mirrors, which 
will be nothing more than ordinary views of mirrored re- 
flections that we see everywhere in real life. In shots of this 
kind, the camera may be placed at any distance from the 


mirror that may be necessary, to achieve the composition 
that has been selected. However, in these shots, if the camera 
is stationed at a distance from the mirror that is greater than 
two or three feet, a special precaution must be taken, in 
setting the focus for the reflected image. This special precau- 
tion is explained in the next paragraph. 

A correct focus setting for the shot of an image, that has 
been reflected from a mirror, includes both the distance from 
the camera to the mirror and that from the mirror to the sub- 
ject. A critical focusing device or a distance meter will give 
the correct focus setting for a mirrored shot automatically, 
but, if you determine the focus by measurement, you must 
add the distance between the mirror and the subject to the 
distance between the camera and the mirror, and you must 
employ the total figure. 

Interesting shots may be made of images that are reflected 
from round polished surfaces, such as garden balls and the hub 
caps of automobiles. Sharpness of focus, here, depends entirely 
upon the curvature of the surface; hence, a critical focusing 
device will serve the filmer well, when he records these shots. 

Miniature settings 

Shots of miniature models are interesting; they can include 
many lighting effects which would be impracticable for most 
filmers, in full sized settings. Sometimes, shots of models 
can be related to scenes of life sized subjects in editing, so that, 
by their context, they will appear on the screen in full size. 
The successful construction of the models will depend upon 
the skill of the builder, but surprisingly realistic effects can 
be achieved from moss, pebbles and clay; some very realistic 
toys also may be purchased. Model railways and ships, some of 
which are replicas of their prototypes, down to the last detail, 
may be filmed, to produce very lifelike results. 

Models are best filmed with plenty of light, so that a fairly 
small lens aperture may be used, in order to produce a realis- 
tic depth of field. In shooting almost any moving model, 


it is advisable to use a slow motion speed of thirty two or sixty 
four frames a second, which will add the slightly more ponder- 
ous effect that brings verisimilitude. Closeup filming devices, 
which will be discussed in Chapter XV, serve to make pictures 
of small models. 

Effects that are appropriate to certain dramatic situations 
may be secured, by shooting through something that will dis- 
tort the picture, such as crinkled cellophane, the bottom of 
a milk bottle or a faceted glass button. 


Special cameras and special attachments and accessories 
greatly increase the scope of cine illusions. A few cameras 
are equipped with single frame releases, that permit the ex- 
posure of one frame at a time. These devices are helpful, in 
making the scenes of animated objects or drawings, which 
were mentioned in Chapter VII. 

One may tap the release button or lever of an ordinary 
camera so quickly and lightly that only one or two frames of 
film will be exposed at a time. Thus, with any camera, it is 
possible to produce animated scenes of inherently motionless 
objects, although the single frame release makes the operation 
simpler and more certain. 

Simple objects are animated most easily. In a movie scene, 
you can cause an ink bottle to appear to travel across a desk, 
by exposing one frame of film, moving the bottle an inch for- 
ward on its path and then exposing a second frame. This 
process is continued until the bottle reaches its destination. 

The greater the distance through which an object is moved 
between the exposure of one frame and that of the next, the 
faster it will seem to progress on the screen. However, if the 
object is moved too far between exposures, it will appear to 
jump from place to place, rather than to move continuously. 

One can determine, in advance, how many seconds of pro- 
jection time are desired for the completion of a particular 
movement. This number of seconds is multiplied by sixteen, 


to discover the number of frames of film that are required to 
depict that movement. 

For example, if we wanted our ink bottle to move across 
the desk in three seconds, we should have to make three times 
sixteen, or forty eight, separate exposures of single frames. 
Between the exposure of one frame and that of the next, the 
bottle would have to move one forty eighth of the distance 
that it is to traverse. If that distance were twenty four inches, 
the bottle should be moved half an inch, each time. 

To produce acceptable shots of animated figures, it is neces- 
sary to place the camera on a steady support and to keep it 
there throughout all operations. The illumination and the 
diaphragm setting must not be changed, in a series of exposures 
of single frames, because a variation in these would produce a 
flicker on the screen. Since daylight varies continually, scenes 
of animation are best made indoors with artificial illumination. 

You will find it easy to animate objects, jointed figures or 
lines on maps, if you will observe these precautions, although 
a lengthy animated shot requires both time and patience. Ani- 
mation is an effective aid, in presenting graphs and charts in 
special purpose films. It is often used, to enliven maps that 
appear in travel pictures and in educational movies. A route 
may be indicated clearly on a map by the progressive exten- 
sion of a line of dots. 

The production of animated cartoons is beyond the ability 
of most movie makers. The preparation of the drawings that 
are needed requires skill in draftsmanship and vast labor. A 
large staff of trained workers is employed, to produce even the 
shortest theatrical cartoon. 

Double and multiple exposures 

Double exposure is a movie trick that is produced, by re- 
cording two different images on the same length of film. This 
is accomplished, by shooting the first scene, by rewinding the 
film to the starting point of this scene and by filming the sec- 
ond scene. Some cameras, that were discussed in Chapter VII, 


are equipped with devices that permit us to wind film back- 

A double exposed shot may be filmed with a camera that 
lacks these special attachments, but, to achieve the desired 
results without them, a movie maker must manipulate the 
camera mechanism and film by hand, and with exceeding care. 

The procedure that must be used, to make double exposures, 
without employing a rewinding device, is made up of these 
steps: (1) the loaded camera is taken into a room or a closet, 
from which all light has been excluded, and the cover is re- 
moved; the upper edge of the film is notched with a pair of 
scissors, at a frame that is near the aperture; the cover is re- 
placed; (2) the first scene is exposed, and the exact footage 
that has been used is noted; (8) the camera is taken again 
to the darkroom and the cover is removed; the film is un- 
threaded, and it is rewound by hand to the starting point of 
the first scene; (one locates the starting point, by running the 
film through his fingers, while he rewinds it, until he feels the 
notch that was made earlier); the film is threaded in the 
camera mechanism again and the cover is closed; (4) the sec- 
ond scene is filmed, and the footage meter is watched care- 
fully, to make sure that the same length of film is reexposed 
that was used for the initial exposure. 

By repeating this procedure, a triple exposure or a quad- 
ruple exposure may be made. Obviously, the device by means 
of which film can be wound backward in the camera greatly 
simplifies these operations. 


A popular double exposure is the scene in which an indi- 
vidual is shown, talking to himself. This effect, which is called 
a "split screen," is obtained by masking one half of the frame 
area, while the first shot is made, and masking the other half, 
while the second shot is filmed. The frame area might include 
several different scenes, but these would require complicated 

Some cameras are equipped with slots that will accommo- 
date masks; with others, it is necessary to place a mask box 

in front of the lens, as it is shown in the illustration. 

Tricks in titles 

Titles are especially well served by cine tricks. In fact, a set- 
ting for titles, since it is easy to illuminate and to manipulate, 
offers a fine opportunity for experience in creating illusions. 
Some titling expedients, that involve tricks, were discussed in 
Chapter XI, but others are given here, because of the wide- 
spread interest in this kind of filming. 

Titles, in which thick wooden letters or those that have been 
molded from some substance are employed, may reveal inter- 
esting shadow patterns. With these letters, you should use 
two lamps, to illuminate the title, and you should place one 
of them much nearer to the subject than the other, so that the 
letters will cast long shadows. You may move one of the lights 
slowly, while you film the title; doing this will cause shadows 
to change form. 

Title letters may be affixed to plane or curved surfaces, 
which may be moved in various ways. For example, the title 
cards that are used in a lead title assembly might be placed in 
the card holder in a series. After enough footage of one title 
has been filmed, its card drops forward, to reveal its successor. 

Letters may be attached to the surface of a drum, which is 
so placed that it will fill the field of the lens; after the camera 
has been started, the drum is revolved slowly, to bring the 
caption into view. Letters may be affixed to one side of a 
square box that is suspended on a horizontal rod. The box is 


revolved, so that the side that carries the title is brought 
squarely in front of the lens. 

The lead title might be placed on one side of such a box, 
the credit title, on another and the introductory subtitle, on 
a third side. When the camera has been started, the fourth, or 
blank, side should be visible; the box should then be revolved, 
to bring the first title in front of the camera, and, after a suffi- 
cient length of film has been exposed, it should be revolved a 
second and a third time, to record the others. 

By using the method of double exposure that has been de- 
scribed, a white lettered title may be superimposed upon any 
movie scene. The scene is recorded first; the film is then re- 
wound, and it is exposed a second time, to record the title, 
which is composed of white characters that appear on a dull 
black background. The title should be illuminated and exposed 
in the ordinary way. The black title background will not be 
recorded, if the exposure has been correctly chosen, and the 
final result will be a length of film in which white letters ap- 
pear over a movie scene. The area of the scene in which the 
title is to appear should be dark, so that the white letters will 
be legible. 

Time condensation 

Time condensation is a movie illusion that is somewhat like 
animation, for it requires that the film be exposed, frame by 
frame, with an interval between exposures. However, while 
the purpose of animation is to make things appear to move, 
although they are really motionless, the purpose of time con- 
densation is to accelerate, in appearance, the motion of objects 
whose normal movement is so slow that the eye cannot de- 
tect it. 

The commonest use of this movie device is found in pictur- 
ing plant growth and tropisms. For example, a growing plant 
is placed on a prearranged movie stage, and one frame is 
exposed, at the end of each successive fifteen minute interval. 
When the footage that is so recorded is projected at normal 


speed, the growth of the plant will appear to have been enor- 
mously quickened, and one can watch buds forming and shoots 
springing forth with an almost terrifying abruptness. 

The camera must be placed on a firm support, and this must 
not be moved between exposures. The lighting and the inter- 
vals between exposures must be uniform. The camera may be 
operated by hand, but an automatic releasing mechanism, 
that one can secure for this special purpose, is much more 


WHEN one sits in the balcony of a theatre, he may 
have a full view of the stage, but the distance from 
the balcony to the stage may be so great that he 
cannot see clearly the expression on an actor's face. So he 
raises a pair of opera glasses to his eyes; through these glasses, 
he sees only a part of the stage, but every object in that part 
will appear to be much larger than it seemed to be when his 
eyes were unaided. Now he can see the actor's expression 

The "one inch" lens that is designed for most frequent use 
with 16mm. cameras or the regularly employed "half inch" 
lens of 8mm. cameras may be compared to the unaided eyes 
of the spectator in the balcony; the results that are obtained 
from the movie lenses that we call "telephoto" are roughly 
analagous to those that we can get from our eyes, when they 
are reinforced by opera glasses. 

Telephoto lenses 

Lenses that are commonly referred to as "telephoto" will 
picture a smaller area of a subject than that which will be 
recorded by the lens that is ordinarily employed with the cam- 
era that is used, but whatever is included in the recording will 
appear to be much larger, on the screen, than it would seem 
to be, if the average lens were employed. 

If we use a telephoto lens to film a distant subject, this 
subject, on the screen, will be pictured as if it were closer to 



the audience than it would appear to be, if the ordinary lens 
were used. The audience will see the moose on the screen 
clearly, although, in reality, when the shot is made, the camera 
is so far away from him that the audience might not perceive 
the animal, at all, if the scene were filmed with the usual lens. 

When we use a telephoto lens, to film a subject that is close 
to the camera, the part of the subject that is shown will be 
greatly enlarged. Thus, a telephoto lens may be used either to 
bring distant objects apparently nearer or to make the sub- 
ject appear to be larger. The lens operates in the same way in 
both cases, of course, but, ordinarily, we have only one of 
these purposes in mind when we employ a telephoto. 

For the sake of simplicity, and following common practice, 
we shall apply the word, "telephoto," to any lens that pictures 
scenes in which the subject appears to have been closer to the 
camera than it actually was or scenes in which it is more 
greatly magnified than would have been the case, had the 
ordinary lens been used. Actually, there are lenses that pro- 
duce these effects by means of longer barrels and others that 
produce them by means of special optical design. The latter 
are true telephotos, in the exactly scientific meaning of the 
term, but both are entirely effective for their purposes. 

Telephoto lenses are referred to by designations in inches. 
Thus, we find "two inch," "three inch" and "four inch," as 
well as terms that contain still larger figures, used to distin- 
guish the telephoto lenses that are employed with 16mm. cam- 
eras. The telephoto that is common to 8mm. cameras is the 
"one and one half inch" lens. These designations proceed from 
optical principles which, although they are interesting, have 
little practical value for the average filmer. The designation 
of a lens by inches is commonly called its "focal length." 

The greater the focal length of a lens, the smaller is the 
area that it pictures, and the greater is the apparent magnifi- 
cation of that area on the screen. The one inch lens, that is 
used in 16mm. cameras, and the half inch lens, that is em- 
ployed in 8mm. filming, record scenes that are comparable 


to those which our unaided eyes will see. Therefore, they are 
known as "normal lenses." The degree of apparent magnifica- 
tion by a telephoto lens may be understood by comparison 
with a normal lens. 

A two inch lens includes a scene area that is one hah* as 
wide as that which is included by a one inch lens; so it may 
be said to magnify the subject twice. A three inch lens includes 
one third of the width of the area that would be recorded by 
a one inch lens; so it may be said to magnify the subject three 
times. This progression applies to four inch and to six inch 
lenses, as well as to those of intermediate focal lengths. 

The same relationship is found in telephotos that are de- 
signed for use with 8mm. cameras, the normal lens for which 
has a focal length of one half inch. Thus, a one and one half 
inch telephoto lens, used with an 8mm. camera, would picture 
scenes that are similar to those that are obtained by a three 
inch lens, used with a 16mm. camera. 

The telephoto lenses that are most commonly employed 
with 16mm. cameras are those that have focal lengths of two 
inches, two and one half inches, three inches, four inches, four 
and one half inches and six inches. The one inch and the one 
and one half inch telephoto lenses are most frequently used 
with 8mm. cameras. Lenses that have been made for use with 
16mm. cameras may, in some instances, be adapted for em- 
ployment with certain types of 8mm. cameras. 

Most telephotos are not so fast as normal lenses; this differ- 
ence in speed results from the fact that it is difficult, as well 
as ^expensive, to grind lenses that have both power of mag- 
nification and great speed. Generally, the longer the focus of 
the telephoto, the slower it is likely to be. Yet this does not 
always obtain, because, for example, a four inch lens that has 
a rating of f/2.7 may be purchased. However, its cost is some- 
what greater than that of a lens of the same focal length, but 
with a speed of f/4.5. 

Since a telephoto lens includes a smaller field than that 
which is covered by the normal lens, the viewfinder that is 


used with a normal lens will not be serviceable with a tele- 
photo. Cameras are equipped with various devices which per- 
mit filmers to change the area of the viewfinder, to match the 
focal length of the lens that they employ. 

Some cameras enable the user to observe the actual field of 
view through whatever lens may be placed in the taking posi- 
tion. By such an observation, the cameraman may determine 
the precise scenes that will be covered by telephotos, as well as 
by other lenses. 

Using telephotos 

The magnification of the subject on the screen carries with 
it, unfortunately, a magnification of the effect of the camera's 
movement. If the camera is unsteady, when a scene is filmed 
with a two inch lens, any trembling of the picture on the 
screen will be twice as pronounced as it would be, if a one 
inch lens were used. Similarly, a three inch lens will magnify 
the effect of camera movement three times. 

If one's nerves are sound, he may be able to hold a camera 
so steady that he can produce an acceptable result with a two 
inch lens, but, to do this with a lens of greater focal length 
is impossible. With any telephoto lens, the use of a tripod is 
advisable; it is imperative with those whose focal lengths ex- 
ceed two inches. 

"Panning" and tilting the camera are ordinarily taboo, when 
one uses a telephoto lens. However, if you*have a geared tripod 
head or a tripod head of the "friction" type that works very 
smoothly, you may be able to "pan" the camera, if this is 
essential in a shot that follows action, even if you use a tele- 
photo; the results of this procedure can be satisfactory, if the 
operation is performed carefully. In general, the best rule to 
follow in filming with telephoto lenses is, Use a tripod and 
don't move the camera! 

With a telephoto lens, you can secure a semi closeup from 
a camera position that would enable you to get nothing closer 
than a medium shot with a normal lens, or you can make a 


medium shot from a location which, if you used a normal lens, 
would let you record only a semi long shot or a long shot. 

Suppose that you are filming an angler who has waded into 
a stream and who is no longer close to the camera. You could 
use your normal lens, to get a medium shot of him, as he casts, 
and then shift the turret, to bring a telephoto lens into place, 
so that you could obtain a semi closeup, as he nets a fish. 

A telephoto lens will enable you to get natural, unposed 
shots of people anywhere, for you can film them from so great 
a distance that they will not know that they are the objects 
of your attention. You can get lifelike scenes of the debaters 
at a street corner political meeting, of a picturesque peasant 
woman, offering her wares in a bazaar, or of a little boy stand- 
ing, fascinated by the monkeys, at a zoo. You can turn the 
telephoto on the members of your own family and you can 
catch natural shots of them, when your subjects are unaware 
that they are being filmed. 

With the aid of a telephoto, you can bridge distance, to 
bring wild animals close to your audience. You can film deer, 
while you are with a hunting party, or, from a blind, you can 
get close views of birds. Medium shots of moose, bears and 
mountain lions have been filmed by means of telephotos. 

To picture baseball and football games or track meets ade- 
quately, you will need a telephoto lens, because, with it, from 
your seat hi the bleachers, you can film close views of the 
players and of important actions. A telephoto will bring a rac- 
ing yacht close, on the screen, or it will single out a shell on 
the river at a regatta. Telephotos are invaluable aids in de- 
picting outdoor events of all kinds, from rodeos to Fourth of 
July speeches. 

When a telephoto lens is used with black and white film, to 
record distant subjects out of doors, it is advisable to employ 
a yellow or a red filter. 

A peculiar property of a telephoto lens is best explained by 
an example of its application. If, with a normal lens, one filmed 
a man who was running toward the camera, he would, in a 


relatively short time, reach the camera's position, and his 
body would fill the field of the lens. However, if the subject 
began to run at a greater distance from the camera, and if a 
telephoto lens were used, more time would be required for the 
runner to reach a point at which his body would fill the frame 
of the viewfinder. This effect is useful, in filming sports. 

While we can buy telephoto lenses that have standard 
mounts which are designed to fit most cameras, it is prudent, 
when we have added one of these to our equipment, to send 
the new lens, and the camera with which it will be used, to the 
manufacturer of the camera or to the maker of the lens. Either 
will check the lens carefully, to see that it can be seated prop- 
erly. A variation of a thousandth of an inch from the proper 
distance between the lens's shoulder and the film's plane will 
affect the sharpness of the picture. But, once the lens is prop- 
erly seated, you can depend upon its performance. 

Filming ultra doseups 

Little things may appear to be enormous, on a movie screen, 
if they have been filmed in extreme closeup. The petals of a 
flower may fill the picture with color, and insects may be por- 
trayed as gigantic, antediluvian monsters. 

Between only microscopically visible objects, on the one 
hand, and life sized movie subjects, on the other, there is a 
whole world of the small that offers both novelty and beauty. 
If you are jaded with ordinary movie^making, look to the 
little, and you will find great variety. 

Filming extreme closeups presents three problems. The first 
of these is raised by the difficulty that we encounter, in getting 
a picture, when the subject is so very close to the camera. It 
must be remembered that most lenses are not designed for 
this kind of filming. 

Our second problem is the determination of the exact field 
that the lens will cover. In this connection, we must take into 
consideration the fact that viewfinders are so designed that 
they will not indicate the boundaries of a scene, if they are 

Dr. James E. Bliss, ACL 


Mildred Greene, ACL 



An example of a cue 
sheet for a musical ac- 
companiment for an 
amateur movie. 

Leo Caloia 

Cue sheet #1, 

Opening title 1 

Silhouette of (entry 2 

Fade tot modern troops 3 

Title Today's soldier.-" 4 

Artillery at gallop 5 

Title "Bitter memories are 

forgotten---." 6 

Title "The lovely setting 

of the Gettysburg hills-." 7 

Trees against sunset 6 

Benjamin F. Farber, jr. 

"OETTYSaU.-.O isBMHISS* 1 Heel 








ANGELUS (sare second side to use as j)ti6) 


David E. Kirkpatrick, ACL 

A. M. Zinner. ACL 

Close shots of flowers from amateur films 

Hamilton H. Jones. ACL Frances Christeson, ACL, 

and Harry V. Merrick, ACL 

Frames from amateur made movies of 
sports. At the right, the camera was 
'"panned," to follow the racing horses 
a legitimate use of the panorama. 
Note the reaction shot which was 
inserted between scenes of the race. 

W. W. Champion, ACL 



employed at distances that are less than those which are 
marked on the focusing scales of the lenses with which they 
are used. The focusing scales of most lenses are not calibrated 
for the small distances that extreme closeups necessitate. 

The last problem is that of securing a sharp focus on objects 
that are very close to the camera. It is obvious that, if the 
focusing scales of lenses are not marked for very short dis- 
tances, they will not serve us, in focusing upon anything with- 
in such distances. 

The simplest accessory that enables us to obtain a picture 
of a subject, when that subject is very close to the camera, is 
the supplementary lens, or portrait attachment, that has been 
referred to several times previously, in this book. This device 
may be placed in front of any regularly employed lens, wheth- 
er it be normal or telephoto. Its use will insure satisfactory 
pictures, when these are taken in extreme closeups. 

Another way to get pictures, when we attempt to film ex- 
treme closeups, is to place a washer, or shim, under the shoul- 
der of the lens, when it has been brought into the taking posi- 
tion. This method, which is applicable only to cameras that 
have the screw type of lens mount, is limited by the relatively 
short distance that a lens may be unscrewed, and yet remain 
firmly seated. 

Still another method of getting pictures of small objects in- 
volves the use of extension tubes which are placed between 
the camera and the lens. Assorted extension tubes, that are 
designed to be used with certain cameras, are available. 

Since the effect of opening the aperture of a lens is changed, 
if extension tubes are employed with it, this changed effect 
must be considered, in filming with these expedients. The man- 
ufacturers of extension tubes offer tables with them, which 
show the actual effect upon exposure that the use of the tubes 
will produce. One may purchase a small calculator which will 
show the effective aperture that should be used with various 
combinations of tubes. 

Some telephoto lenses have been so constructed that they 


may be focused at distances that are much smaller than the 
shortest of those that are marked on their focusing scales. 
These provide a further means of producing extreme closeups. 

Our two remaining problems that must be solved, in order 
to film extreme closeups determining the lens field and secur- 
ing sharp focus involve the employment of devices that are, 
in general, designed to accomplish both determination of the 
field and sharpness of focus, although some of them perform 
only one of these functions. 

For example, some cameras are equipped with a viewer that 
employs ground glass upon which the image of the subject 
will be reflected. One observes this image and moves the focus- 
ing ring, until a sharp focus has been obtained. Some viewers 
do not show the entire scene; those that do provide this im- 
portant facility are said to give "full field reflex focusing," by 
means of which one may observe the image that will be re- 
corded. With a viewer of this type, one may determine the 
lens field and also secure sharp focus. 

When only a portion of the image that will be recorded is 
visible in a viewer, additional means must be provided, to de- 
termine the lens field. Some cameras permit us to see the full 
field of the scene that the viewer includes, so that we may 
focus sharply, but an alignment device must be employed 
additionally, if it is essential that this field shall be the same as 
that which the lens will record. 

A device that enables us to determine the field and to se- 
cure sharp focus may be purchased for use with magazine 
loading cameras. Another accessory, that is available for use 
with some cameras that have the screw type of lens mount, 
will show the exact field of the lens that is used, but it will 
not serve for focusing; a variant of this device will accomplish 
both purposes. 

Using small titters in filming closeups 

One commonly used movie accessory, which is at the dis- 
posal of both 16mm. and 8mm. filmers, will solve all three of 


the problems of ultra closeup recording, but its use is limited 
by a fixed distance from the lens to the subject and by an 
inflexible degree of magnification. This device is the small 
titler that was discussed in Chapter XI. 

A typical small titler is made up of a supplementary lens, an 
easel and a support which maintains the camera, the supple- 
mentary lens and the easel in proper, and invariable, relation 
to each other. The guide frame of the easel determines the field 
for extreme closeups. We can place a flower or any small 
object in the area that is bounded by this frame, and we can 
then film an ultra closeup of it, with complete certainty that 
whatever is within the frame will be recorded satisfactorily 
and in sharp focus. The small titler will not serve us, if we 
want to magnify greatly a small object, such as an ant or a 
minute crystal, because the area that is recorded will always be 
that of the actual easel frame, no more and no less. 

Altogether, there is a wide variety of equipment that is 
designed to help us to film extreme closeups. In planning to use 
any of the devices that may be secured, we must always re- 
member the three problems of this kind of filming, to be sure 
that adequate equipment is at hand, to solve all of them. 

When the subject is very close to the camera, the depth of 
field of the lens is limited. The image may lose sharp focus, if 
the subject is moved only a few inches nearer to the camera 
or farther from it. In extremely close shots of minute objects, 
a variation of the fraction of an inch will cause a loss of sharp- 

The smaller the diaphragm opening, the greater is the depth 
of field of a lens; therefore, liberal illumination is of real ad- 
vantage, in recording extreme closeups. Indoors, it is easy to 
concentrate enough light on the little subject; out of doors, it 
may be possible to use a mirror or a small reflector, to throw 
light upon it. 

The small depth of field that is available, in filming ultra 
closeups, may be an advantage, when we work with some sub- 
jects. When a flower, for example, is in sharp focus, its back- 


ground may be a soft blur, which will cause the flower to stand 
out more strongly. A black velvet background may be used 
behind flowers that are filmed in ultra closeup. 

These shots are superlatively beautiful, if they are filmed in 
color. Pick a fresh blossom that is covered with morning dew; 
if there is no dew, an atomizer, filled with water, will supply 
the deficiency. Attach the stem of the flower to a support that 
rests below the lens field; this support will hold the flower 
steady and in place, after you have arranged it in the field. 
Hang a piece of black velvet just behind the blossom, and 
then film the ultra closeup in full color. The result of this 
effort will bring sincere praise from your audience. 

Even more beautiful shots may be made, if the flower is 
back lighted, because it will then appear to glow with its own 
inner light. 

With a small titler, you can film sea anemones and other 
forms of marine life that are to be found in the shallow pools 
that are left in *ocky formations on a beach, when the tide 
has gone out. Place the easel of the titler under the water, to 
frame the subject, but take care that the camera is not damp- 
ened. After the scene is made, the titler should be dried im- 
mediately; after a period of underwater filming of this type, 
it is necessary to coat the titler with some heavy oil, so that 
it will not rust. 

The possibilities of filming minute objects do not end with 
the opportunities that are offered by extreme closeups. Even 
smaller subjects may be filmed with a microscope and with 
special equipment. Complete facilities are offered for this kind 
of movie making. 

If you are fond of experiment, you may care to make an 
assembly that will enable you to record movies through a 
microscope. The Amateur Cinema League will send informa- 
tion to its members concerning this interesting field of ad- 


A THOUGH we have learned how to make acceptable 
movies, we should become further acquainted with 
methods and devices that will give us opportunities 
for more adequate expression in our filming. 

We have seen the need for transitions expedients by which 
we move from one sequence to another and it is obvious that 
a variety of these will add suavity to our pictures. Not every 
transition is accomplished by an intermediate shot; there are 
methods of securing these scene shifts that are the peculiar 
property of the motion picture. The swiftest variation in the 
action of a film is achieved through the cut, which simply ends 
one scene and permits the next to follow it without hesita- 
tion. The wipeoff is less abrupt than the cut, but it is more 
brusque than the dissolve. The fade is a more definitive pause 
than the dissolve, while the title gives us the most positive of 
all transitions, because it stops the action completely. All 
these devices have been described, and the last has been dis- 
cussed in detail in earlier chapters. Some of the other transi- 
tions merit fuller examination. 


The fade was described in Chapter VII. A none too smooth 
production of this serviceable effect can be secured with the 
simplest camera and with no accessory. Closing the diaphragm 
opening to its smallest circumference or opening it to the ex- 
tent which the ultimate exposure requires will achieve a fade 



out or a fade in. In ending the first and in commencing the 
second, a hand must be placed over the lens, to bring com- 
plete blackness to the screen. Obviously, unless this is done 
very smoothly, the result will be too abrupt. This method of 
securing fades is really effective only, if the scene from which 
or toward which the fade proceeds is one that calls for a 
fairly large diaphragm opening, so that there can be enough 
variation of the diaphragm, to emphasize the change in screen 

A passable fade may be produced, by passing a card gradu- 
ally across the lens and directly in front of it. This must be 
done very smoothly, if the result is to be satisfactory. 

A "fading glass" operates more successfully. This is a rec- 
tangular strip of glass, about eight inches long, which is trans- 
parent at one end and opaque at the other, with gradual vari- 
ations from light to shade between the two extremities. The 
glass is moved across the lens, to achieve the fade. It must 
never be taken away from its position, in front of the lens, until 
the camera stops. If a fade out is desired, the scene in which 
it will be employed should be commenced with the transparent 
portion of the fading glass in front of the lens; similarly, for 
a fade in, the camera should be started with the opaque por- 
tion of the glass in position. A temporary fading glass can be 
improvised, by smoking a clear glass over a candle flame. Fad- 
ing devices are sometimes made in the shape of discs that 
have graduated variations in their light transmitting capacity. 
A fourth method of making fades involves the use of polariz- 
ing screens that are set in a frame which is equipped with a 
control lever. 

Some cameras are provided with fading devices which are 
integral parts of the mechanism. These are generally called 
"dissolving shutters," although they are more exactly "fading 
shutters." They have movable blades which will open or close 
while the camera is running. The rate of this action is con- 
trolled by a lever which is located on the camera's exterior. 

Fades may be effected in finished film, after it has been re- 


turned by a processing laboratory. A dye may be applied to it, 
which will stain it much or little, depending upon the time 
of application. By this method, the strip of film upon which 
you wish to produce the fade is weighted at one end and is 
dipped into a long, narrow tube which contains the dye, where 
it is allowed to remain for an instant. It is then drawn from 
the tube with a gradual and steady motion. The weighted 
end, which should remain longest in the dye, will be most fully 
stained, and the density of the dye on the rest of the film 
will vary gradually from end to end. 

Fades may be produced in the course of processing, if the 
picture has been recorded on a negative and if prints will be 
made for projection. The negative image can be darkened or 
lightened, to produce the fade, by the application of special 
chemicals. Also the printing machine may be manipulated, to 
produce a fade on the print itself. Many laboratories are dis- 
inclined to perform these operations, because of the special 
attention that they require. 

A fade out produces an effective pause in the flow of the 
film story. It is most frequently used, to end a sequence or to 
conclude an entire film. The combination of the fading out of 
one scene and the fading in of another is a transitional device 
that indicates a lapse of time or space, or of both. 

In a sequence of Christmas Eve, we can fade out on a scene 
of little Tommy, already asleep in his bed; if we then fade in 
on a shot of him, as he wakes in daylight, we shall have 
spanned the time between Christmas Eve and Christmas 
morning. If we fade out as Tommy says goodbye, when he 
leaves to go to a summer camp, and then fade in on a shot of 
his arrival there, we can bridge a gap in both time and space. 
We can indicate a long lapse in time, and any desired change 
in location, by a slow fade out that shows Tommy, now of 
high school age, walking hand in hand with a girl, which would 
be followed by a slow fade in on a scene of his marriage. 

The fade out brings a feeling of finality, peacefulness and 
quiet, by its marked deceleration. But this feeling will vary 


with the speed of the fade. If the gap in time or in space is 
comparatively slight (Christmas Eve to Christmas Day) , it 
may be shown by a fairly rapid fade out and fade in. The fad- 
ing would extend from eight to fifteen frames of film, and an 
image of full intensity would give way, gradually, to a com- 
pletely darkened screen. If the transition is to be more pro- 
nounced (Tom leaves home and reaches camp) or if finality 
is to be indicated, slow fades would be used, which would 
cover ten to twenty frames. For still more special effects 
such as the classic Chaplin ending, that shows the sad, but 
unsubdued, little tramp walking off into the distance an ex- 
tremely slow fade might be used, which could extend over 
forty to eighty frames. 

Fades are also used in title footage. Main title assemblies 
may fade in at moderate speed and their credit titles or fore- 
words may fade out. Subtitles may be faded in and faded out; 
if this treatment is used, the fades should be fairly rapid. Ac- 
cording to professional standards, a fast fade of title footage 
will extend from thirty to forty frames; a slow fade will cover 
forty to sixty frames. 

An inventive movie maker will find ways of devising ac- 
tion, to give the effect of fades. A character may walk toward 
the camera, until he obscures the lens field; a door may swing 
across the view; a car may be driven over the camera, which 
rests on the pavement; a blanket, a card or a newspaper may 
move toward the lens, the field of which it finally cuts off. 


Dissolves were explained in Chapter VII. A method of wind- 
ing film backward, without the use of a special device, was 
described in Chapter XIV, in a consideration of double ex- 
posure. Dissolves are actually two overlapping fades, one of 
which is a fade out and the other, a fade in, but both are made 
at the same speed and on the same length of film. To achieve 
them, we must produce fades and must employ the additional 
expedient of winding film backward. 


While a dissolve effects a transition, it does so without the 
deceleration that is caused by fades. Indeed, a dissolve seems 
actually to speed the pace of a film, because it achieves the 
transition more smoothly. Fades bring one series of actions to 
a definite end and mark the beginning of another. The dis- 
solve, on the other hand, suggests that we are leaving one inci- 
dent and are going on to a second, which has a direct relation 
to the first. 

The dissolve has two principal functions; (1) to bridge, 
without deceleration, a gap in time or in space, or in both of 
these; (2) to suggest a direct temporal connection between 
two sequences. As an example of the first function, one could 
employ r- dissolve between brief scenes that would show 
Mother feeding the baby, washing dishes and cleaning the 
house, if it were desired to indicate swiftly that hers was a 
busy morning. Again, if a not too great feeling of interruption 
were wanted, one might use a dissolve instead of fades be- 
tween the scene of Tom waving goodbye, as he leaves home, 
and that of the youngster greeting his companions, on his ar- 
rival at camp. Because of the deceleration of the fades, the 
change in locale and in activity acquires importance and final- 
ity one era ends; another begins. Because of the smoothness 
of the dissolve, the change has less importance, and the un- 
broken continuity of Tom's existence is suggested. 

The second function of the dissolve is the connection of 
parallel action, that interesting device of the movie that we 
have met earlier. We may dissolve from scenes of Mother 
washing dishes to several that show the children playing in 
the yard, and finally to a shot of the mischievous dog in the 
living room. Here, says this treatment, are three different ac- 
tions, in three different localities, and yet all take place at the 
same time. 

Less closely knit would be such examples as a dissolve from 
a shot of a swindler guzzling champagne to a view of his vic- 
tims emptying their last bottle of milk; from the scene of a 
"gangster" dying by a "G-Man's" bullet to the shot of a news- 


boy crying his death; from a view of the elector marking his 
ballot to one of the elected taking his oath of office. In each 
instance, the relationship of one action to another is so imme- 
diate and direct that the interruption of a fade would be in- 

The effect of the dissolve is determined by the speed with 
which it is executed. In the dramatic treatment of the "gang- 
ster's" death, one should employ a relatively fast transition, 
extending from ten to fifteen frames. In the brief scenes of 
Mother's busy morning, the tempo would be less nervous, and 
the dissolves should include from fifteen to thirty frames. To 
show the sordid tragedy of the swindler and his starving vic- 
tims, the dissolve should be slowed still further, to run from 
thirty to fifty frames. A dissolve from a main title to a credit 
title should be relatively slow. 

To attain great suavity, dissolves may be made between 
objects of similar physical form or aspect. Thus, the swindler's 
champagne bottle becomes the empty milk bottle of his dupes 
and Tom's gesture of farewell merges into his wave of greet- 
ing. Even the scene of the slain "gangster" might be treated in 
this way, and the "G-Man" could draw a white shroud over 
the dead criminal, which would dissolve into the white surface 
of the newspaper. 

The effect of dissolves can be secured without special equip- 
ment. A closeup of a round, white door knob can be followed 
by another that shows a billiard ball. One actor may walk to- 
ward the camera, until he obscures the view; another can walk 
away from the lens, in another locale. A shot of a steamer's 
wake can give way to one that shows a similar pattern of toss- 
ing water behind a speed boat. There is also what is known 
horribly enough as the "swish pan," in which the camera 
swings suddenly away from one object, across a path of com- 
pletely blurred images, to come to rest upon a second. One 
may tilt the camera skyward at the end of one scene and 
bring it down to earth again at the beginning of another. 



A wipeoff, which was discussed in Chapter VII, where the 
special device that is used to effect it was mentioned, may be 
simulated by other methods. We may affix a long, triangular 
piece of waterproofed tape to the length of film on which we 
wish to produce the wipeoff, in the manner that is shown in 
the diagram. 

Black dye is used, to obliterate the scene, in this 
type of wipeoff. 

The partially covered length of film should then be dipped 
in black dye; after the dye has dried, the tape should be re- 
moved. In the length of film that has been treated in this way, 
a larger portion of each succeeding frame will be opaque, and 
the last frame will be completely blackened. When this scene 
is projected, it will appear to slide off the screen. 

A similar effect may be obtained, by applying a black cellu- 
lose tape to the film, although the permanent adhesive quali- 
ties of this medium are problematical. 

In these wipeoffs, the scenes will, on the screen, appear to 
slide out of view, but they will not be replaced by others that 

A section of transparent tape is used, to bind 
together two diagonally cut film strips. 


appear to slide into the picture. If this additional result is de- 
sired, one may treat two film lengths, in the way that is shown 
in the diagram. These are placed side by side and they are 
backed by transparent cellulose tape. The tape may not serve 
indefinitely, as its strength may diminish in use. This double 
wipeoff can be made permanent, if the footage that is held to- 
gether by the tape is duplicated. Also, if the effect has been 
secured with negative film, the resultant prints will record 
the wipeoffs. 

The wipeoff provides a rapid transition between brief scenes 
of similar suggestion and import. Suppose that we want to 
imply that the United States is a vast country, to which fast 
transportation is vital. We can do this by scenes, separated by 
wipeoffs, that show giant buses, speeding trains and droning 
airplanes. Wipeoffs are advantageously employed in a series 
of short scenes; they should always be used sparingly and with 

Trucking shots 

A "trucking shot" is made, by moving the camera toward 
the subject, or away from it, while a scene is filmed. The chief 
requirement for producing this effect is some means of keep- 
ing the camera steady, while it moves forward or backward. 

Small vehicles, equipped with rubber tired wheels, may be 
used, to support the camera and to provide smooth movement. 
A tea wagon, a baby carriage or a child's cart can serve, but 
the surface over which these are drawn must be smooth. 

Small supports, which are equipped with wheels or casters 
and which will receive the legs of tripods, are available. The 
camera is placed upon the tripod, and this is mounted on the 
mobile frame. A smooth floor is essential, in using these de- 

A camera dolly may be built by using rubber tired wheels 
that have ball bearings. These mobile camera supports give 
the best results, if they are drawn over a smooth wooden 
track, which has been laid especially for the purpose. 


Although they are not widely used in amateur films, truck- 
ing shots may serve them well. Their most direct application 
is found in following a moving subject. The bank robbers have 
escaped in their car, but the police are hot on the trail, in an- 
other, and they fire at the bandits, as the two machines rush 
over the highway. The camera, in a third automobile, gets 
alternate shots of the pursuers and the pursued. This sequence 
will present the running battle very realistically. 

The trucking shot lets us move from the general to the par- 
ticular. The heroine has been told to beware of a man who 
wears a black pearl. As she comes into a crowded room, her 
glance roves over the guests; she stops suddenly, while the 
camera trucks relentlessly to a closeup of her fiance's brother, 
whose cravat reveals a black pearl. Not only does the advanc- 
ing movement of the camera parallel the action of the hero- 
ine's eyes, but the unbroken flow of the film creates a mood of 
inevitable menace, far more potently than would a straight 

A contrasting employment of the trucking shot occurs in 
transitions from the particular to the general. In dim lighting, 
we see a hand wiping blood from a knife. Slowly, the camera 
recedes, to show, first, who holds the knife, second, the limp 
figure of a murdered man and, third, the half hidden face of a 
woman in a corner, who is an unseen witness to the crime. By 
the uninterrupted course of these successive revelations, the 
dramatic impact of the murder's discovery is heightened. 


"Montage" is a French word that, in movie making, has 
come to mean a special form of editing. In its use, a number 
of very short and individually different scenes are spliced to- 
gether, to represent one general idea. These scenes are very 
brief, since it is only their surface symbolism that is impor- 
tant, and not their detailed content. A girl who lives in a small 
town wins a "beauty contest," and soon she is known every- 
where. The notoriety that she achieves could be suggested by 



a montage which would show a series of shots of (1) her de- 
parture from home; (2) the advancing wheels of a train; (3) 
the blinding flash bulbs of news photographers; (4) a cocktail 
party; (5) a swarm of autograph hunters; (6) trembling 
hands that sign a movie contract. 

These various methods of better expression must be used 
with care and discretion. Each has its own purpose and its 
own place in movies. But imprecise employment and too fre- 
quent repetition will cause even the simplest of them to ob- 
scure the clarity of the film. 


As we progress in movie making, our scenes will be better 
composed and, hence, more beautiful. We shall come, event- 
ually, to an almost automatic selection of camera positions 
that will give us pleasing compositions. 

Objects should be included in the foreground of our scenes 
and we should frame views with branches of trees and with 
arches. If we film at the beach, we should not forget the pat* 
terns of ripples that the wind has formed in the sands. We 
might film a group of fishing boats through the strands of a 
wide meshed net or we might picture a building through a 
pattern of elm leaves. Both man and nature have provided at- 
tractive details, some of which may serve for the foreground 
of our films, while others may fill the scene entirely. 

A triangular arrangement of masses generally gives an inter- 
esting composition, as we can see in the accompanying picture. 

By selecting the proper viewpoint, you can ob- 
tain a pleasant triangular arrangement of masses. 


One can, with relative ease, obtain this triangular arrange- 
ment from the stationary masses in the background of a scene, 
but one cannot always control moving persons or things. But, 
if this can possibly be contrived, it is an excellent plan to select 
a camera viewpoint that will produce a diagonal line of motion 
on the screen, because this direction of action is more pleasing 
than one that goes straight across the field of the lens. 

For example, if you film a railway train, you can point the 
camera, so that the train will move diagonally or in a curve 
across the lens field. When you are dealing with subjects whom 
you can control, you should so direct your actors that they 
will not walk across the scene, at right angles to the camera. 

Point your camera so that moving objects will 
pass diagonally through the lens field. 

If your subjects are pictured sitting down, you can achieve 
a triangular composition, either by an arrangement of the per- 
sons who are in the scene or by placing them in relation to 
objects that are hi the view. An actual shifting of properties 
and individuals can usually be obviated by a different camera 

Sublety in composition may be achieved by planes in the 
view, that have different degrees of illumination. A scene that 
has a light foreground, a dark middle ground and a light back- 
ground will be livelier than one that is equally illuminated in 
all its planes. It will also have an illusion of greater depth. 

Planes of contrasting colors, in Kodachrome movies, will 


give interesting effects in composition. Objects in the fore- 
ground will add to the beauty of a scene, if they are in defi- 
nite contrast to the dominant tone of the middle area. 

Not every one of these better methods of expression will be 
used in every better film, but we should always remember that 
they are special devices which are available for use in turning 
what might, otherwise, be a "bald and unconvincing narra- 
tive" into a picture that has greater interest and charm than 
it would possess, if they were not employed. 


THE use of color film by amateur movie makers has 
now become so general that it is safe to say black and 
white emulsions are now used only by necessity eco- 
nomic or otherwise. 

Fortunately, it is easier to make effective movies with color 
film than with black and white, even though everyone knows 
that exposures must be accurate to within one half stop. The 
eye-filling beauty of full color completes the picture and re- 
leases the camera operator from the need to seek accented 
lighting effects as he must do when shooting in monochrome. 
Although brilliant highlights and velvety shadows may be 
put to work in color filming also, still it is safe for a movie 
maker to employ general flat lighting without risking monot- 
ony. This is because the constant change in color 
patterns diverts the attention of an audience to such an 
extent that the unimaginative lighting schemes will go un- 

It is, indeed, easy to create effective movie scenes in color, 
but there may be times when unsatisfactory results are ob- 
tained. These generally are due to the more obvious causes 
of failure underexposure or overexposure which can soon 
be corrected. Of prime importance is a basic understanding 
of the color material you have to work with and its charac- 
teristics under all photographic conditions. Let us examine 
these materials. 



Types of movie film available 

The amateur movie maker has available to him two brands 
of color film which he may purchase for use in his camera: 

A. Kodachrome, manufactured by the Eastman Kodak 
Company, Rochester 4, N. Y. 

B. Ansco Color, manufactured by Ansco, Binghamton, N. Y. 
In these brands, the following film sizes are made: 

A. Kodachrome, in both 8mm. and 16mm. widths. 

B. Ansco Color, in both 8mm. and 16mm. widths. 

In the widths indicated, there are two types of color film 
offered by each manufacturer: 

A. Outdoor film, known as Daylight Type in both of the 

B. Indoor film, known as Type A Kodachrome, or as 
Tungsten Type Ansco Color. 

There are these two types of film (outdoor and indoor) 
because of differences in the color qualities of outdoor and 
indoor (artificial) light. These differences are expressed 
technically in degrees of color temperature ( Kelvin), a 
matter into which there is little value for the amateur to 
inquire deeply. We shall refer to color temperature ratings 
only in so far as they will serve to clarify other needed data. 

The indoor films are readily converted to outdoor (day- 
light) use by means of a suitable filter, and the modified 
speed of the film will then be the same as that of regular 
daylight type film. The daylight type film may be used with 
artificial light if a suitable filter is used, but the film speed 
is then reduced so much that it is unwise to use daylight 
film with artificial light unless absolutely necessary. For cer- 
tain effects, such as lap dissolve from an outdoor to an in- 
door scene, such use of daylight film is unavoidable. But it 
is only in extreme cases that it is feasible to employ it, be- 
cause of the slow speed. 

Inter changeability of the two brands 
The physical characteristics of Kodachrome and Ansco 


Color such as width, perforations, thickness of film, etc. 
are sufficiently alike so that the two films may be spliced 
together and projected interchangeably. Aesthetically, how- 
ever, some differences may be noticed which will make this 
practice inadvisable. It is wholly a matter of personal taste 
and decision. 

Characteristics of Kodachrome film 

Daylight Type. This film is balanced for exposure in sun- 
light, plus skylight. It produces its best color rendering in 
bright or hazy sunlight during the period between two hours 
after sunrise and two hours before sunset. At other times, 
sunlight is not recommended for making pictures of people, 
although the warm, orange east in the sun's rays may be 
very desirable in, for example, a landscape or a seascape. 

For bluish daylight conditions, and scenes taken in shade 
under a clear blue sky, or on an overcast day, and also to 
reduce bluishness in distant scenes, a Kodak Skylight 
Filter is recommended with no increase in exposure. Color 
rendering becomes warmer with the Kodak CC14 Filter 
( 1 A to % stop exposure increase) , or still warmer with Kodak 
CC15 Filter (% to % stop exposure increase) . 


Daylight Tungsten 

ASA-10 ASA-4* 

W-8 W-3* 

GE-12 GE-5* 

* With Kodachrome filter for Photoflood. 

Type A for artificial light. This film is balanced for ex- 
posure with Photoflood lamps (3400 K) by means of which 
the best color rendering will be obtained. 3200 K lights (pro- 
fessional type) may be used if a Kodak CC4 Filter is in 
place on the lens. 

Type A film can be used with daylight most satisfactorily 
if a Kodachrome Type A filter for daylight is in place on the 


lens. Since this filter excludes ultraviolet, no haze filter is 
necessary. However, because with some subjects and espe- 
cially under overcast conditions this combination does not 
produce as good color rendering as does Daylight Koda- 
chrome, it is not recommended for general use. Also, the 
Kodachrome Type A filter is only moderately stable and 
may fade if in sunlight too long. 


Tungsten Daylight 

ASA-16 ASA-10* 

W-12 W-8* 

GE-20 GE-12* 

* With Kodachrome Type A filter for daylight. 
Characteristics of Ansco Color film 

Daylight type. This film has approximately the same color 
balance as does Kodachrome Daylight Type. Thus, the data 
given for Kodachrome will apply to Ansco Color, daylight 
type. It is pointed out to users of Ansco Color daylight type 
that the film is balanced for mean noon sunlight (5400 K) , 
but the film range is 5000 to 6000 K. 

For those light conditions which, with Kodachrome, call 
for a sky filter, the Ansco Color UV-16 filter is recommended. 
Use of the filter will help to maintain the same excellent 
color rendition present in pictures made in bright sunlight. 
The Ansco Color UV-17 and UV-18 filters give still warmer 


Daylight Tungsten 

ASA-10 ASA-3* 

W-8 W-2.5* 

GE-12 GE-4* 

* With No. 10 conversion filter and 3200 K lamps, not Photofloods. 
Tungsten type. This film is balanced for use with any 


artificial illuminants which closely correspond to a color tem- 
perature of 3200 K. A recommended lamp for good results 
is the PS-25 500 watt lamp which is approximately equal 
in candlepower to a No. 2 flood lamp. Slight changes in the 
color temperature of the lamp used to illuminate a scene will 
affect the color rendition, and so with flood lamps such as 
the Photoflood and the Superflood (3400 K), a UV-15 filter 
should be in place on the lens. 


Tungsten Daylight 

ASA-12 ASA-10* 
W-10 W-8* 

GE-16 GE-12* 

* With Ansco Color conversion filter No. 11. 

Exposing color film 

There is but one accurate exposure for color film at which 
a scene and the colors therein will be reproduced correctly. 
But film manufacturers agree that there is a certain latitude 
in the film which permits an error up to one half stop varia- 
tion from the normal exposure without sacrifice in quality. 
This means that a filmer will adopt some means of gauging 
or estimating the correct exposure or his results are likely 
to be disappointing. 

Overexposure causes the colors and the picture details to 
appear diluted and washed out, whereas underexposure will 
make the scene look as if it had been photographed through 
smoked glasses. On the other hand, if the sky chart (the 
instructions which come with the film) is followed, or if 
an exposure meter is used correctly in arriving at the ex- 
posure, then the scene will be reproduced so as to accent 
and enhance all of the colors and details within the angle 
of view of the lens. 

Most cameramen agree that, when filming in direct sun- 
light, use of the directions which come with the film is the 


most dependable way of estimating exposure. However, this 
involves a certain amount of thinking, for the light and 
subject matter conditions must be estimated and these con- 
ditions interpreted into an exposure by reference to the data 
chart. For this reason, an exposure meter is often bought 
with the camera. All of those available today are dependable 
if used correctly. But they, too, require study and close ad- 
herence to instructions, as will be discussed in detail later. 

Using the instructions which come with color film 

Daylight type color film is balanced for sunlight plus sky- 
light. Scenes illuminated by sunlight are in addition partly 
lighted by reflections from other objects, such as grass, trees, 
rocks, walls and the like. But there is also present, if the 
blue sky or clouded sky is visible from subject viewpoint, 
a considerable amount of skylight. These added sources of 
illumination bolster the shadow side of objects in the scene, 
thus tending to decrease contrast in the lighting. Otherwise 
a scene would be made up of harsh highlights and inky 
shadows, and color photography would suffer greatly thereby. 

In following the instructions which come with the film 
(daylight type) outdoors in the daytime, the scene must 
be appraised from two separate standpoints. First of all, 
weather conditions are considered. There are five categories: 
(1) clear, direct sunlight; (2) hazy sun (when soft shadows 
are cast) ; (3) open shade (with clear blue sky) ; (4) cloudy 
bright (no shadows cast) , and (5) cloudy dull (threatening) . 

With the exception of No. 3 (open shade with clear blue 
sky), these five categories are easily understood and need 
no explanation. By "open shade with clear blue sky" there 
are meant the conditions encountered in an area shaded by 
the side of a house. Persons pictured in closeup under these 
conditions will not squint their eyes, and the movie shots 
take on a candid, off-guard appearance. 

However, to use the diaphragm stops indicated in the in- 
structions, there must be visible from subject viewpoint an 


expanse of clear blue sky from the zenith almost down to 
the horizon in all visible directions as one stands with his back 
to the house. If there is any doubt about this, it will be better 
to take a reading with an exposure meter, rather than to go 
by the instruction sheet. Also, when filming under these 
conditions, a haze filter is needed to prevent a bluish look 
in the finished movies. 

Pictures made in direct sunlight require no haze filter; 
but on overcast days (No. 4 cloudy bright) one is recom- 
mended, especially if such footage is to be included with shots 
made in direct sunshine. It is generally agreed that color 
movies made on an overcast day with the proper filter in 
place on the lens are very pleasing to the eye. Lighting con- 
trasts are soft and, to the eye, colors take on a pastel shade. 
In the finished movie, however, the colors are vivid and the 
picture sharp. And, for an obscure reason, this combination 
also imparts a stereoscopic quality or illusion of depth to the 
projected image. 

Movies filmed in direct sunlight are most effective when 
lighted by mid-morning or mid-afternoon sunlight. When the 
sun is directly overhead it casts heavy, unattractive shadows, 
especially in closeups of persons in which eye sockets and 
areas under the nose and chin will suffer. On the other hand, 
color pictures made during the recommended period make 
possible general front lighting. This is desirable not only 
because it is an effective type of lighting, but also because 
it reduces exposure problems to a minimum. With the sun- 
light reaching the scene from the general direction of the 
camera, shadows will be almost invisible from the camera 
viewpoint. To achieve this lighting, a cameraman faces his 
subjects toward the sun, then takes the picture with the 
sun behind and slightly to one side of the camera. 

Taking Bright Sunlight as a standard, the recommended 
changes in exposure for the different weather categories are 
as follows; 


Bright sunlight. See exposure recommendations in the table 
which follows. 

Hazy sunlight. Requires one stop more exposure than 
bright sunlight. 

Cloudy bright. Requires two full stops more than bright 

Open shade. Requires about three full stops more than 
bright sunlight. 

Cloudy dull. Requires three full stops more than bright 

Other variations from the norm are: 

Side lighted subjects in bright sunlight require one half 
stop more than front lighted subjects. 

Back lighted subjects in bright sunlight. If a rim-lighted 
or halo effect is desired, give one full stop more than for 
front sunlighting. If details in the shaded area must stand 
out, give two full stops more under the same conditions. 

Types of picture subjects 

The second category into which scenes fall concerns itself 
with the objects in a particular scene. Generally speaking, 
all subject matter may be classed as either light-colored, dark- 
colored or, if it is in-between, as average. The color or tone 
of the principal objects in a scene (those which must be 
reproduced faithfully on the screen) will influence the ex- 
posure greatly. Average subjects will require a particular 
diaphragm stop, whereas if the subjects are light-colored, one 
half stop less exposure will be correct. Conversely, if the 
subjects are dark-colored, one half stop more exposure should 
be given. 

For this reason a filmer will familiarize himself with the 
color or tone of standard scenes so that he can readily 
classify them when he is using the instructions packed with 
the film. 

For example: 

Average subjects. Light and dark objects combined in 


equal proportions, all being given the benefit of the same 
general illumination. Also, objects whose tone or color is 
roughly in between light and dark. 

Light-colored subjects. Beach and snow scenes, light- 
colored flowers, people in white clothing, light-colored build- 
ings, closeups of fair-skinned persons and all other subjects 
light in tone. 

Dark-colored subjects. Dark foliage, deep-colored flowers, 
dark animals, dark-colored buildings and similar subjects. 

It is by combining these two categories light conditions 
and types of subject matter that the following exposure table 
is worked out for Daylight type color film. 


Direct sunlight Average subjects. . f/8 

Light subjects between f/8 and f/11 

Dark subjects between f/5.6 and f/8 

Hazy sun Average subjects, .f/5.6 

Light subjects between f/5.6 and f/8 

Dark subjects between f/4 and f/5.6 

Open shade, Average subjects . . f /2.8 

clear sky Light subjects between f /2.8 and f/4 

Dark subjects between f/1.9 and f/2.8 

Cloudy bright Average subjects . . f/4 

Light subjects between f/4 and f/5.6 

Dark subjects between f/2.8 and f/4 

Cloudy dull Average subjects . . f/2.8 

Light subjects between f/2.8 and f/4 

Dark subjects between f/1.9 and f/2.8 

The above exposures, which should be followed for both 
close and distant views, are for front lighting. They will also 


be affected in each case by the compensation for side or back 
lighting already mentioned. When in doubt as to whether 
a subject is light or dark, the average exposure should be 
given. The guide is intended for use in both temperate and 
tropical zones. 

Using a reflected light type exposure meter 

A reflected light type exposure meter is one which measures 
the light reflected from the subject. To do this, a reading 
is made by pointing the meter directly at the subject. 

Complete instructions for using the meter are supplied 
with each instrument, of course. In practice, however, it 
would seem as if some new users meet with indifferent success 
when using the meter for the first time. This is probably due 
to the fact that the instructions are not truly followed. But 
whatever the cause, many meter owners adopt a simple 
formula which serves them such as taking a reading of the 
palm or back of the hand, reading the subject's face, etc. 
Another system is to take a reading of the lightest and the 
darkest objects in a scene and then to use a stop halfway 
between those indicated by the two readings. 

If any one of these systems returns you consistently good 
exposures, there is no reason why you should not follow it. 
However, for those cameramen who desire to understand 
the true functioning of a reflected light meter, there are a 
number of further considerations which are of great interest. 

Reflected light exposure meters are calibrated in such a 
way as to give correct exposure readings for medium-toned 
(average) subjects. It is recommended, for that reason, that 
a "gray card reading" be made at the subject position. A 
gray card is a piece of gray cardboard, usually about 8 by 10 
inches in size, which reflects approximately 18 percent of the 
light which illuminates it. The meter is held close to it so 
that rays of light from no other object affect it, and the 
reading thus made will indicate the correct exposure for 
average subjects. 


If the subject is light-colored, the lens diaphragm is then 
closed down one half stop. If the subject is dark-colored, 
the diaphragm is opened up one half stop. 

Now, let us suppose that the meter is pointed at a light- 
colored object instead of at a gray card. The meter has no 
brain, and so all it can do is indicate the strength of the light 
being reflected by the light-colored object. This light is cer- 
tainly more than 18 percent of that which is iluminating the 
object. If we expose the film as indicated by the meter under 
such circumstances, the light-colored object will be repro- 
duced as a medium-colored object, because that is the way 
in which the meter is calibrated. The same error, in reverse, 
occurs when a reading is made of a dark-colored object. 

To use the meter properly, a filmer must keep the fore- 
going facts in mind. There are three things to remember: 

1. When the meter is pointed at a medium-colored subject, 
the exposure which is indicated may be used. 

2. If the meter is pointed at a light-colored subject, more 
exposure than the meter indicates should be given. 

3. If the meter is pointed at a dark-colored subject, less 
exposure than the meter indicates should be given. 

Thus, the question which is to be decided by the filmer 
is how much more, or how much less exposure must be given 
when a reading is taken of other than a medium-toned 
object. This depends upon the tone of the object. A fair- 
skinned person or a blonde will require one-half to one full 
stop more than the meter indicates, if a reading is taken using 
the light reflected from skin or hair. When a reading is made 
of whitish objects, exposure should be increased by two full 
stops. When a reading is made of an extremely dark subject, 
two full stops less than the meter indicates should be given. 
These are extremes, and the filmer will find it necessary to 
appraise the in-between subjects by accumulating experience. 

Using an incident-light type exposure meter 
The incident-light type exposure meter, such as the Nor- 


wood, was developed in order to utilize the light illuminating 
a scene to calculate the exposure. For many years, it has been 
agreed by experts that this was the method least likely to 
lead to error. But it was only recently that this type of meter 
was made available to the amateur movie maker. 

In use, the incident-light meter is pointed toward the 
camera from subject position. It will then indicate an ex- 
posure which is correct for medium-toned subjects. If the 
subject is light colored, the diaphragm should be closed down 
one half stop. For dark colored subjects, the diaphragm is 
opened up one half stop. 

In this connection, it is interesting to note that the exposure 
table given earlier functions as does an incident light meter, 
since it depends on the light falling on the subject. It also 
should be noted that, in effect, the incident light meter pro- 
vides the user with what would be a gray card reading with 
the reflected light meter. It is, however, done easily and 
without the need to carry the card about or to hold it up as 
the reading is made. 

It should be kept in mind when using an incident light 
meter that the meter is calibrated so as to reproduce flesh 
tones accurately. Therefore, use of the stop indicated by the 
meter is advisable whenever persons appear in the scene, re- 
gardless of the compensation for light-colored or dark-colored 
objects otherwise suggested. 

When taking a reading of distant scenes outdoors, such as 
landscapes or mountains, it is recommended that slightly 
less exposure be given to the film than is indicated by the 
incident light meter. To arrive at the proper exposure, it is 
suggested that a reading be taken with the meter pointed 
toward the camera, and a second reading made with the meter 
pointed at the sky. Both readings should be noted and an ex- 
posure half way between the two is given to the film. 

When it comes to calculating the proper exposure for 
back lighted scenes, the cameraman must be the monitor of 
his meter, regardless of which type is used. Both instruments 


provide a reading automatically which is correct for fully 
lighted subjects. In other words, meters do not know when a 
subject is back lighted. You do, and so you must make some 

Let us suppose that you are taking a picture of a girl in 
bright sunshine and that you wish to take advantage of the 
pleasing effects of back lighting for this particular scene. To 
the eye, the slanting sunshine outlines the head and shoul- 
ders of the girl strikingly, but her face and other detail are 
in shadow. 

With the reflected light type meter you would take a read- 
ing of the shadow side of the subject, taking care that rays 
from the sun or from other objects are excluded. With the 
incident light meter, you would simply point the photosphere 
of the instrument at the camera, from subject viewpoint, al- 
lowing the sun's rays to fall upon the photosphere from the 

Under such circumstances, both meters would give you 
about the same reading. But if you were to expose the film 
as indicated by the meters, the shadow side of the subject 
would be reproduced as brightly as if it were in direct sun- 
shine, or approximately so. In any case, the effect of back 
lighting would be washed out. 

A suggestion would be to give one full stop less than indi- 
cated by meters under such circumstances, so that the shad- 
ow would then reproduce as a shadow. Later, you could 
study the picture on the screen and decide to give more or 
less correction depending upon your personal taste in the 

Lighting contrast and subject contrast 

Color film will reproduce contrasting subjects satisfactorily 
within certain limits. Extremely light-colored and very dark- 
colored objects in the same scene will be reproduced fairly 
well if the contrast range does not exceed 1:16. This means 
that the brightest object must not be more than sixteen 


times brighter than the darkest object. With the lens dia- 
phragm set for medium toned objects (in this case, objects 
whose color is midway between the extremes included in the 
scene) then the entire range of contrasts (from 1 to 16) will 
be reproduced pleasingly on the screen. 

If this ratio is exceeded in, for example, a scene outdoors 
where contrasts of 1:30 are often encountered, then the prin- 
cipal objects in the scene are favored and an exposure given 
which will reproduce those objects satisfactorily. 

Contrasty lighting will aggravate subject contrast because 
objects in shaded areas naturally reflect less light than do 
objects which are fully illuminated. Therefore, it will be seen 
that, with color film, light should be projected into shaded 
areas; if that is impossible, a camera viewpoint should then 
be chosen which will make the details in the shadow area un- 
important. In other words, simply do not photograph scenes 
with color film if there are important objects in both the high- 
lighted and shaded areas. Such a scene would be a group of 
people, some of whom are in sunshine, others in shadow. Un- 
der these conditions, the results are certain to be disappoint- 

Sometimes control over the lighting arrangement can be 
exercised such as using a reflector to lighten the shadow side 
of a sunlit subject in making a closeup, or when working in- 
doors with several movie lights. At such times, the main light 
is supplemented by a so-called fill-in light on the other side 
of the subject. It is generally conceded that the light reaching 
the subject from the fill-in light should be at least one quarter 
as bright as the highlighted side, or create a ratio of 1:4. 

Where harsh subject contrasts are encountered in a scene, 
exposure latitude is reduced to the minimum and but one 
diaphragm stop will give a satisfactory exposure. If this ex- 
posure is increased or decreased, then the light colored objects 
will be washed out or the dark colored objects will be repro- 
duced too dark, as the case may be. 

On the other hand, if a narrow range of contrasts is en- 


countered such as in yachting scenes on a gray day, when 
subject contrasts may not exceed 1:4 the scene will be re- 
produced quite satisfactorily even if a variant of two full 
stops either way from the correct stop is used. For this rea- 
son it can be said that the latitude of color film depends 
somewhat upon subject contrast. 

Exposure of color film indoors 

When a movie maker gets into his stride, many scenes will 
be photographed indoors, using Type A or perhaps Tungsten 
type color film in the camera. His first and basic problem will 
be one of simple illumination or just getting enough light on 
the subject to achieve adequate exposure. And, although 
color emulsions are relatively slow in speed, this is not too 
difficult a problem to solve with modern lighting units. 

Perhaps the most popular of these are the series of bulbs 
known as Photofloods, with the light of which Type A Koda- 
chrome is specifically balanced and under which Tungsten 
Type Ansco Color may easily be exposed with the use of the 
UV-15 filter, already mentioned. 

Photoflood bulbs for home use are made in two strengths 
or sizes (No. 1 and No. 2) and in two types in these sizes 
inside frosted bulbs, which are to be used in efficient metal 
reflectors, and the RFL-2 and RSP-2 types (flood and spot) , 
which are about equal in strength to the No. 2 but have re- 
flecting surfaces built into them. There are also a 375 watt 
medium beam lamp (60 spot effect), and the B-l and B-2 
bulbs of blue glass, for use in combination with daylight and 
the Daylight Type color films. 

Of this assortment, the No. 2 units are most often used for 
overall off-scene illumination, with the No, 1 bulbs used on- 
scene to dress up the setting in ways which will be discussed 
later. Here again, in the use of No. 2 flood bulbs for overall 
illumination, the simplest arrangement is the front-lighted 
one which copies the same lighting out of doors. Exposures 
on such a lighting arrangement, because of its simplicity, may 


often be estimated by the lamp-to-subject system. A table 
of such suggested exposures, using two No. 2 Photofloods in 
hard-surfaced metal reflectors, follows. With the use of two 
RFL-2 bulbs instead, these exposures should be increased 
by approximately % a stop. 


Light to 
in feet 












f /5 5.G 

f/5.6 6.3 

f /6.3 S 

f /4 5.G 


f/5.6 8 


f/4 5.6 



f/4 + 


f/3.8 3.5 



f/2.8 + 


f/4 + 


f/2.8 3.5 

f/8.5 4 



f/2.8 3.5 



f /2.8 + 


f/1.9 2.7 


f/1.4 1.6 

f/1.6 1.9 





Depending, obviously, on an even spacing of one's lighting 
units in relation to the subject, this method of lighting and 
of exposure estimation is likely soon to become monotonous. 
The cameraman will find that he has splashed all his available 
wattage on the principal subject without regard for natural- 
ness in his effects. A beginning filmer may take more than a 
few shots like this without realizing that this kind of lighting 
leaves something to be desired. 

When he takes critical stock of his films he will see that it 
is mostly a question of stepping up the pleasingly subdued 
lighting effects found in the home under normal conditions. A 
way must be found to reproduce the same highlights and 
shadows, using lights ten times as strong as the ordinary home 
lights. Estimating exposure for such lighting is best done with 
the meter, following the instructions which come with it and 
the special cautions already discussed. 


This natural effect is achieved by careful placing of lights. 
If any floor lamps or table lamps are within the field of view, 
the ordinary bulbs are first replaced by No. 1 Photoflood (or 
tungsten) bulbs proper precautions being taken to see that 
the bulbs do not come in contact with the lampshades. The 
positions of the on-scene room lamps are then noted, and 
movie lamps are located outside the scene so that their light 
might conceivably be the light coming from the table or floor 

When a person is in the scene, he should be lighted about 
the same as he would under normal room conditions. A strong 
key light may be located fairly high and to one side, at an 
angle of about 45 degrees to the subject; it should be aug- 
mented by a weaker fill-in light shining from the other side 
of the camera, very near camera viewpoint and at about the 
eye level of the actor. Some back lighting of the head and 
shoulders, on the side away from the key light, will produce 
so-called modeling, while walls and other objects in the back- 
ground may be lighted independently to a degree which is 
consistent with your equipment and the mood of the scene. 

RSP-2 photospot lamps are excellent for lighting the back- 
ground, since they can project a strong beam of light and 
still be positioned well outside the picture margins. RFL-2 
flood lamps or No. 2 Photofloods in metal reflectors are com- 
monly used for the key and fill lighting. Regardless of where 
it is used, each light should be pointed and shifted about to 
determine the exact spot in which it will be most effective. 

The lighting setup just described might be termed a basic 
lighting arrangement. In using it as a basic lighting formula, 
and in working out from it to other effects, there are a num- 
ber of interesting points to keep in mind. 

1. Having the key light too high illuminates the hair of a 
subject unduly and causes a distinct shadow to be cast under 
the nose and chin. Light should not be so high that the shadow 
from the nose extends into the line of the lips. 

%. Using a fill-in light on the other side (the shadow side) 


softens the shadows cast by the key light. It also highlights 
the eyes, which is very necessary in closeups. The ratio be- 
tween the fill and the key light should never be more than 
1 : 4 for color. In fact, it is considered that 1 : 3 gives sufficiently 
modeled effects, and 1 : 2 constitutes standard practice in most 

3. Working with just one key light is thought to be best 
because it makes for simplicity in the lighting scheme. If two 
or more lights are shining on a person's face from the key 
light direction, they will cast multiple shadows one of the 
worst of the lighting sins. 

4. Placing the fill-in light at about the eye level of the 
subject will create desirable catchlights in the eyes and it 
also tends to minimize cross-shadows from the subject's nose. 
If the fill-in light is much to the side, the cross-shadows will 
be noticeable, especially with a ratio of 1:2. 

5. Whenever it is possible to do so, move main objects and 
persons away from background walls. If this is not done, there 
will be a shadow cast on the wall for each one of the front 
lights. With lights kept high and main subjects away from 
the walls, any shadows which are cast will not be seen. Floor 
lamps and table lamps, above all, should not cast shadows 
especially multiple shadows on back walls as this shows that 
they are not really the source of illumination which they are 
supposed to be. 

6. Back lighting will be ineffective if it is seen from camera 
viewpoint against a highlighted background. For this reason, 
background walls should be held to a lower key in the areas 
in back of a subject's back lighted head and shoulders. This 
will provide the separation or modeling which is probably the 
most artistic tool a cameraman has at his command when 
arranging lights for interior filming. Much time and care 
should be devoted to "painting in" the accented back light- 
ing, for it will always give foreground objects in a scene 
roundness and reality. 


7. Avoid "arty" or bizarre lighting, even though you may 
feel the need to do something different with your lights. The 
first thing an inexperienced cameraman wants to do is to 
throw light up from floor level, thus casting grotesque shad- 
ows on the faces of his actors. Or he might go in for contrasts 
in side lighting, just to be different. These are intentional sins. 
But an unintentional and equally horrendous sin is committed 
when key lights are clamped to chair backs one on either side 
of the camera The result, which is harsh and "hot" in the ex- 
treme, has been aptly tagged "Third-Degree" lighting. 

A good rule might be to avoid positioning your lights too 
immediately in any "handy" place. Instead, try to forget the 
lights for the time being, while you think of the lighting. If 
you decide in advance where your highlights, shadows, top 
light and modeling light should be on the subject, then all 
you have to do is to place the lights in such a way that the 
predetermined effects will be created. 


WE HAVE already encountered, earlier in this book, 
very serviceable methods, by means of which an al- 
most unlimited variety of sounds may accompany 
our movies. But sound may be provided for 16mm. pictures 
by recording it on the film that will be projected. The record- 
ing may be done after you have filmed the movie scenes; this 
procedure is known as "post recording." Sound may also be 
recorded simultaneously with the motion picture image. 
Whichever method we use, the result on the film itself will be 
the same. 

So that it will not encroach upon the normal picture area, 
the "sound track" is located along the edge of the film that is 
used for sound recording. One row of the usual perforations 
is omitted, to provide space for it, but this omission will cause 
no difficulty in the film's passage through the camera or the 

This sound track may have jagged edges or it may vary 
only in density. The first of these appearances is known as a 
"variable area"; the second is called a "variable density." In 
both cases, the effect is produced by the action of a beam of 
light upon the sensitive film. This beam is affected by original 
sound impulses which are transformed into light impulses. 

Post recording is, at present, more widely used in substand- 
ard filming than is the simultaneous recording of pictures and 
sound. It serves every purpose of the latter method, except 
that of achieving exact synchronization between sounds and 



the actions that produce them. In post recording, music, nar- 
rative and other sounds are recorded, by competent techni- 
cians, on a separate film. This film and that upon which the 
picture was recorded are then used, by a laboratory, to pro- 
duce the third, and final, film, which is actually employed in 
projection. Both black and white and color movies may be 
treated in this manner, with results that are of high quality 
and relatively small cost. 

Filming for post recording 

If you wish to add sound to your movies by post recording, 
you should take the pictures, on your regular film, at a cam- 
era speed of twenty four frames a second, because they must 
be projected at this rate, to achieve an adequate reproduction 
of sound. Except for this increased speed, your filming will be 
performed just as you would carry it on normally. Care is 
essential in exposure, especially with color footage, because 
your original film will be duplicated, to secure the final print. 
Overexposed shots and underexposed scenes should be elimi- 
nated entirely, as these will give poor results in duplication. 

As you edit the picture that has been recorded at the faster 
camera speed, you should bear in mind the length of time in 
which the scene will appear on the screen, because it will re- 
quire more footage than would be needed, if the filming were 
done at the rate of sixteen frames a second. Therefore, you 
should add fifty percent to the length of your scenes. If narra- 
tion is to be used in your movie, scenes in which it is employed 
should be longer than those that will be accompanied only by 
music or by other sounds, because the audience will be receiv- 
ing information both from the picture and from a voice. 

Footage that has been filmed at sixteen frames a second ran 
be used in post recording, if the action is such that the in- 
creased projection speed will not make it seem to be unpleas- 
antly fast on the screen. 

Before the technicians proceed to the actual post recording, 
a rehearsal of any music and sound effects with a double turn- 


table is essential. Music of great contrast in volume of sound 
should be avoided, because a steady level of volume is prefer- 
able to one that is variable. If narration is used, music or in- 
cidental sounds must be subdued at those times in which the 
narrator speaks, while other sounds are heard. In this re- 
hearsal, it is essential that the projection of the picture take 
place at twenty four frames a second. A stop watch should be 
used, to give exact information of the time for changes in the 
sound, according to the plan by which these should occur in 
the final projection. 

From this rehearsal a "cue sheet" should result. This is a 
list of all sounds that will be post recorded and a statement of 
the exact times at which they will be employed. The record- 
ing technician will make use of it, as his guide; so it must be 
very accurate. The studio that performs your post recording 
will advise you of the form in which the cue sheet should be 
prepared, to meet particular requirements. 

The narrative 

The addition of music and other sounds to films has been 
discussed earlier in these pages, in a consideration of double 
turntables. But the problem of a narrative involves new fac- 
tors. First of all, the narrative must be carefully planned, so 
that it will accomplish precisely what is desired, in technically 
perfect fashion. 

To prepare a well timed narrative, we should first edit the 
film. However, we should not yet shorten scenes that may be 
too long. After the film has been edited, we should prepare 
a numbered list of the scenes that it contains. In this list, shots 
need not be described in greater detail than is essential for 
ready identification. The footage of each scene should be mea- 
sured and its length should be entered beside the description. 
A convenient form for this scene list is provided by setting 
down, on one half of each page, the description and the foot- 
age of the scenes and by leaving the other half blank, so that, 
when the narrative has been completed, we shall have place 
for it. 


In the next step, we determine the time, in seconds, that is 
required for the projection of each scene. A film that is to be 
projected at twenty four frames a second requires 1.67 sec- 
onds of screen time for each foot. So, a scene that is one foot 
long will last for approximately 1.7 seconds on the screen, 
while a scene that runs ten feet will consume 16.7 seconds in 

With the list of scenes and the notations of the time that is 
required for each, as a guide, one can write the narrative. 
After a rough draft has been completed, rehearse it with the 
aid of a stop watch. You will probably find that it is necessary 
to eliminate phrases, and even complete thoughts, for we tend 
to write too much for narration. Remember, also, that you 
will want to shorten some of the scenes, unless you insist upon 
leaving them as they are, in order to afford time for a longer 

The next step in the procedure is the rehearsal of the narra- 
tion, while the film is projected. You should time the delivery 
to the flow of the film and you should make sure that you have 
provided pauses that will permit the speaker to pronounce 
his words in synchronism with the pictures that they should 
accompany. The final step is the completion of the editing and 
the modification of the narrative, to agree with the amended 
time scale. 

The narration should be rehearsed with a screening of the 
film, in the laboratory where the sound will be recorded. It 
may be found that minor adjustments in either film or narra- 
tive will be advisable, in order that the best possible effect 
may be secured. 

In preparing a narrative that will accompany a movie, 
whether it is to be delivered in person, as a lecture, or whether 
it will be recorded permanently on a sound track, one should 
follow the all important rule of title writing, Don't tip off! 

Do not tell the audience what it will see next and do not 
describe what it is seeing now. The commentary should am- 
plify, and not duplicate, the content of the picture. It affords 


an opportunity to make the movie more interesting, but, if 
you tell the audience what it can see on the screen, you will 
only induce boredom. 

It is very important to provide pauses in the narration. You 
should not compel the speaker to race through your words, in 
order to keep up with the film. He must, at least, have time 
to catch his breath. 

Not infrequently, you may want to have some word or 
phrase spoken in precise synchronism with the appearance of 
a scene; if you do not provide a pause in the flow of narration, 
just before the scene appears, it will be very difficult for any 
speaker to time his delivery. 

Then, too, sound films of the lecture type are generally 
accompanied by music, and there should be some opportunity 
for the audience to hear it. While the commentator speaks, 
the music should be subdued, but, when he pauses for a few 
moments, its volume may be increased. Such a variation pro- 
vides a pleasing contrast and prevents the voice from becom- 
ing monotonous. 

When you rehearse the film in conjunction with narration, 
music and sound effects, if they are used, be sure that none of 
these interferes with another and satisfy yourself that the 
pauses in narration are sufficiently lengthy, and numerous 
enough to create a pleasing effect. 

Subtitles may be included advantageously in a sound film, 
for they are very effective, in calling attention to a new type 
of subject matter within the film and in emphasizing some im- 
portant point. They also will provide pauses that give excel- 
lent opportunities to introduce new musical themes. Not in- 
frequently, a one reel sound movie, that is made for teaching 
or training purposes, will include three or four subtitles. 

The Amateur Cinema League will suggest themes for nar- 
ratives of sound on film pictures and will review narratives 
that have been written. 

After the narrative has been planned, we must decide whose 
voice is to deliver it. There may be an advantage in recording 


a familiar voice, although this is not great in post recording, 
since its owner will not be seen in the act of speaking. If you 
are persuaded that your own voice will best give the narration, 
you should obtain disinterested opinion. Generally, persons 
who are trained in this work will do it better. 

After these preliminary procedures have been carried out, 
you can, if you wish, send the cue sheet and the picture to a 
recording studio, and await the finished product. The more 
exactly you have indicated your desires, the more competently 
can the recording technician give you what you want. 

The choice of music for use with movies has already been 
discussed in earlier references in this book, that dealt with 
double turntables. One thing must be remembered, however, in 
this connection. Your film will probably be shown publicly; 
so, you must investigate musical copyrights, whether you use 
performed or recorded music. The advice of the recording 
studio should be secured, before your choice is made final. 

If it should appear to be essential that the narrator be 
shown in the act of speaking, footage that will record him can 
be made and added to the film, by the studio that carries out 
the post recording process. This procedure is known as "di- 
rect" or "spot" recording. 

Simultaneous recording 

Cameras and recorders that will place pictures and sound 
of all kinds simultaneously on 16mm. film, are available. 
They range from relatively simple instruments to those that 
are both complex and expensive. With these cameras and re- 
corders, personal and special purpose filmers may achieve re- 
sults on substandard film that are of very high quality. The 
technical problems of this kind of movie making are not baf- 
fling, by any means; however, they are of interest chiefly to 
persons who want to make sound films, and, because of the 
limitation of the size of this book, they are not discussed here. 
Members of the Amateur Cinema League may obtain informa- 
tion concerning them from League headquarters. 


A discussion of editing sound film is also omitted. It in- 
volves procedures that are exact and that must be performed 
carefully. The League will give information about them to its 


Sound projectors will reproduce both sound and pictures. 
Although they have special features, they are not difficult to 
operate. Care must be taken, in threading film in a sound pro- 
jector, because its travel will be somewhat more devious than 
it would be in silent machines and because the speed of this 
travel will be increased. The projector must be kept scrupu- 
lously clean, as the presence of foreign bodies will affect the 
quality of the sound very perceptibly. As is the case with every 
piece of movie making equipment, the instructions of the 
manufacturer should be followed. 

Sound projectors possess amplifiers and loud speakers, 
which require about the same amount of care as does the aver- 
age radio. After extensive use, the tubes in an amplifier should 
be tested, to insure proper results. 

When you show sound on film pictures, you should test the 
acoustic properties of the room where the showing will take 
place, and you should do this well in advance of the presen- 
tation. Unpleasant results may be reduced, if not eliminated, 
by a different placement of the loud speaker or by hanging 
draperies over windows and other parts of the room. 

Just as you can secure additional films, to amplify your own, 
in silent movie programs, so can you buy or rent a large 
variety of sound on film pictures from movie libraries. Sub- 
jects may also be obtained from various sources without 
charge, except for postage. Their addition to your presenta- 
tion will bring increased pleasure to your audience. 


A HIS abilities grow with experience, a movie maker 
will generally want to turn them to more special pur- 
poses. His hobby will begin to serve practical, as well 
as recreative, ends. 

Business films 

The subject matter that is most often selected for this newer 
expression is that which is nearest at hand one's daily occu- 
pation. There are few trades, industries or professions that are 
not well adapted to good movies. In its simplest form, a film 
of your business need be little more than a factual record that 
will be of interest and value to the men who work in your 
field. It could begin, for example, with the arrival of raw ma- 
terials at a factory, and it could follow them through the 
processes of manufacture, until they emerge as finished prod- 
ucts. Sometimes, the effectiveness of such a continuity may 
be heightened, by opening the movie with a view of the fin- 
ished products, in daily use, and by returning, then, to the 
beginning of the story, which will show "how they got that 
way." In any case, an interesting record will result, if the 
movie maker follows, in this project, as in others, the sound 
methods of good motion picture treatment that have already 
been discussed. 

When you film inside an office or a factory, you will en- 
counter the problem of lighting areas that are much larger 
than those with which you have to deal in a house. One solu- 



tion of this problem is reached by confining your filming to 
close shots; this is a limitation that may be an actual advan- 
tage, because the story of most of the processes of business or 
of manufacturing is told better in close shots than in medium 

To film larger views of areas that are found inside factories, 
one should use No. 4 flood bulbs, installed in reflecting units. 
It may be necessary to secure special electric cables, to supply 
the current that is required for these lamps of larger wattage. 

A plain background will improve closeups of the details of 
manufacture; it will also simplify lighting. If the arrangement 
of the scene does not provide one, you can easily supply the 
deficiency, by placing a piece of light gray wallboard behind 
the subject. 

With business films, we can serve not only those who are 
employed in our occupation; these movies may also be of real 
aid in the conduct of business itself. Without going beyond 
the immediate circle of a firm's employees, the motion picture 
can help an enterprise in many ways. Films have been made 
that show the results of tests of wearing power, of tensile 
strengths or of reactions to heat and cold; these records are 
preserved for repeated study. 

Simple and complex movements of workmen and the travel 
of products through a factory, on assembly lines and from one 
department to another, have been analyzed, by means of 
movies that are filmed in normal and in slow motion. Human 
effort, time and money have been saved, as a result of their 

Employees, whether they work in a factory or in the distant 
outposts of a large concern, have been trained by films, in 
everything from safety to salesmanship. The substandard 
movie, in the hands of an imaginative and far seeing business 
man, brings the mountain to Mohammed and with telling 

Outside the confines of your office or factory, the business 
film has still other functions, which are, possibly, more potent 


and, certainly, more widely appealing than those that it 
performs within your organization. These functions may 
range from an effort that is chiefly designed to give informa- 
tion, on through persuasion, to an eventual outright bid for 
sales. In films of this kind, the business man, be he merchant, 
manufacturer or professional, is talking directly to those mem- 
bers of the public whom he hopes to make customers. For- 
merly, thes3 pictures, because of their considerable cost, were 
used only by a few relatively large companies. Today, since 
substandard cameras and film are available to everybody, the 
butcher or the baker may turn his skill in filming to account 
and profit. Short pictures, that take no more than five min- 
utes in showing, are presented in store windows in continuous 
projectors. Longer and more comprehensive efforts may be 
exhibited before commercial groups and in local schools, clubs, 
and even churches. 

Business may address its message to audiences that are to be 
found outside its own community. From New York City, a 
manufacturer of elevators distributes an entire series of pic- 
tures of vertical transportation, which were produced directly 
on 16mm. film by members of his staff. From Florida, a grower 
of citrus fruits tells the rest of the world about the superlative 
qualities of his oranges and lemons and the camera that re- 
corded this picture also filmed his children. From Chicago, a 
large air transport company calls attention to the ease and 
comfort of travel over its many lines, by means of a film that 
was made entirely by one of its pilots, who used his own, and 
not the company's time, for this purpose. 

Some business films do not sell products or services openly. 
Indeed, many concerns, particularly banks, have found that 
they may best bring themselves to the public's attention by 
indirection. One large urban bank, that is located in the south- 
ern part of the United States, has secured an attractive film 
that pictures the city in which it maintains its headquarters; 
this picture, in which the bank appears only as the agent of 
presentation, is distributed, as a free loan, by the Conservation 


Commission of the State which the bank serves. A smaller 
bank, which is located in an agricultural county of a South- 
western State, has prepared a series of pictures that discuss 
the problems of farming. These are presented by members of 
the bank's staff at meetings of farmers. 

Public utilities, that depend so largely upon the good will 
of the residents of their areas, have recognized the movie as 
an able servant. In northern New York, a large electric com- 
pany found that its rural clientele was critical of new, and 
higher rates. A dramatic presentation, in film, which shows 
the expense and the human suffering that are involved in 
maintaining uninterrupted service in wintry weather, turned 
the tide of opinion. Railroads, everywhere, use films, to show 
the advantages of the regions that they serve. 

Persuasive films 

Movies, with their possibilities of subtle persuasion and of 
dramatic appeal, are very effective instruments for social 
workers and for civil servants. The American Red Cross, the 
Boy Scouts of America, the Travelers Aid Society and other 
national and local bodies use films that are produced, in many 
instances, by competent amateurs. Hospitals have found new 
funds and have solved old problems, with the camera's aid. 
Cities commend themselves, in movies, to tourists, business 
men and home seekers. Departments of city governments 
boast of the honesty of local weights and measures, the excel- 
lence of swimming pools or the purity of milk, by means of 
films that are often made by a departmental Tom, Dick or 

The increasingly popular summer camps use movies, to 
attract new patrons and to urge the visitors of other years to 
return. Parents, whose children are eager to live in one of 
these places for a part of the summer, are more likely to send 
the youngsters to a camp, if they can be convinced, in film, 
that sanitation and supervision are given expert attention. 


Religion* films 

The church uses the motion picture regularly. Sometimes, 
the clerical staff and the congregation are recorded, as a part 
of the history of a parish. If a new building is erected, the old 
home of the church may be shown, in use, in a motion picture, 
before the edifice is given up. Groups of Sunday school stu- 
dents have dramatized the great stories of the Bible, both in 
their traditional aspects and in striking transmutations to 
modern circumstances. Important conclaves are recorded by 
a church's national headquarters. Rituals have been filmed 
for the instruction of the clergy and the laity. 

Movies serve the church particularly well in the mission 
field. They have, at last, provided a medium by means of 
which those lonely workers in far places the missionaries 
may send home a living record of their problems and their 
progress, their trials and their triumphs. 

Teaching films 

The use of movies by teachers is not a new activity. Early 
in the life of theatrical motion pictures, educators made re- 
peated efforts, to secure films that would amplify other forms 
of instruction. Those that were made available to teachers, by 
theatrical companies, were, at best, selections of footage that 
had been shot originally for other reasons. With the develop- 
ment of substandard filming, movies were produced specifically 
for employment in schools. The latest application of narrow 
width filming to the needs of education has come with the 
individual production of pictures by teachers. 

A superior teacher will prefer his own course outlines to 
those that are handed to him; similarly, he will want to use 
movies that contain what he believes to be essential. So, many 
teachers have made their own films. These cover a wide range, 
from the problems of simple fractions to the details of com- 
plex scientific subjects, from history to histrionics, from mak- 
ing cakes to binding books. Many of these movies have been 
made in classrooms, or with the aid of students, and some of 


them have been produced as group projects, by an entire 
class. It has been found that students are more likely to under- 
stand anything, if they have had to discover how to make 
somebody else understand it. 

Colleges have gone still further in the matter of producing 
films that will meet exact needs, and we find, in some institu- 
tions, regular departments or well unified groups, whose func- 
tion is the preparation of movies for faculty members who 
use them. 

Medical, surgical and scientific films 

Surgeons, dentists, physicians, medical schools and hospitals 
are active users of substandard films. Case records, operative 
techniques, elaborate prosthetics and many other procedures 
are filmed. 

Scientists record their observations and experiments on film, 
and a motion picture camera is an important adjunct to a well 
equipped laboratory, because its records can amplify, and even 
supplant, those that were formerly made only by means of the 
written word. 

Highly elaborate filming mechanisms are sometimes em- 
ployed for medical and scientific pictures; in almost every in- 
stance, a high degree of precision in the operation of the cam- 
era is absolutely requisite. Special lighting must be employed; 
the extreme closeups, that are so necessary an accompaniment 
to this kind of movie making, call for the careful determina- 
tion of focus and for the exact location of minute objects in 
the lens field. If anybody undertakes this work, he will be well 
advised to consult the Amateur Cinema League, in advance 
of actual shooting, to make sure that he will avoid costly errors 
and that he will not spoil records that cannot be made again. 

Film plans 

In special purpose filming, the plan is all important. We 
must always remember that we are addressing a public that 
may not be of our own choosing and that we shall not in- 


John V. Hansen, ACL 



At the right, frames from 
a photoplay made by an 
amateur movie club. Be- 
low, frames from scenes 
of two practical film sub- 
jects, a boys' camp and 
medical technique. 


variably be able to add something to our footage, by means 
of comments in projection. What is recorded must be crystal 
clear to many persons of different capacities for understanding. 

Medical and scientific procedures will sometimes enforce 
their own continuity, but other special purpose films will, gen- 
erally, accomplish their end or fail to reach it, depending upon 
the way in which they tell their stories. In business films and 
in persuasive movies, we are trying to win confidence and to 
create good will; so we cannot be inept or incoherent. Our pres- 
entation may be direct or it may be subtle, but it must never 
be dull or indecisive. Clarity is the absolute essential, and clar- 
ity calls for hard thinking, before ever a foot of film is exposed. 

What is the purpose of our film? To get an answer to this 
apparently simple question is, perhaps, the hardest task of all, 
in planning special purpose pictures. The reason for the diffi- 
culty lies in the fact that human beings are generally impelled 
by several purposes; consequently, they conclude that they 
can, in film, serve several purposes. We might as well recog- 
nize, at the very outset, that this cannot be done with movies. 
We must choose one primary goal and we must bend all our 
efforts toward its achievement. 

We cannot answer the important question, that we have 
just stated, until we have answered another that is implied 
by it. To what type of audience is our picture directed? Sup- 
pose that we want to make a film that will sell washing ma- 
chines. We say to ourselves that this is a simple matter. But 
we cannot stop here, because our second question comes im- 
mediately into play. Will it sell them at wholesale? If this is 
the case, we may want to discuss ready supply, distribution 
of territory, discounts and other matters that wholesale mer- 
chants will need to know. Will the film sell washing machines 
to retailers? They will be interested in methods of displaying 
machines, of demonstrating them and of urging them upon 
ultimate consumers. Will our movie sell our product to house- 
wives? They will be interested in performance, in design and 
in ease and economy of operation, but they will have no inter- 


est in the things that wholesale and retail merchants must be 

This example proves to us that a film cannot serve multiple 
purposes. It must do one thing and it must do that one thing 

Now that we know our specific aim, we find still another 
question. How will the finished film be presented? We may 
decide to make a silent movie, that will be complete in itself, 
so that it may be projected anywhere and by anybody. We 
may want to record sound on the footage, in addition to pic- 
tures. If our film is to be presented only by our own agents, 
will it be silent or will it have sound? Will our representative 
speak before the showing or after it? Will he accompany it by 
some discussion? He may, perhaps, use a double turntable. 
We cannot begin to shoot, until we have reached a clear de- 

These three questions are germane to all special purpose 
films, although some of them may have less importance, when 
we plan enterprises of a highly specialized kind, such as scien- 
tific and medical films or certain kinds of teaching pictures. 

Now, the preliminary decisions having been made, we are 
ready to attack the plan itself. It will, of course, follow the 
general principles that have been outlined earlier in this book, 
but it should be made in greater detail than would be called 
for by many personal filming efforts. Since special purpose 
films may be compared to public addresses or to written dis- 
cussions that are intended for publication, their outlines 
should be as clear and as logical as those of formal speeches 
or manuscripts. 

Each part of the film plan should be tested, as we develop 
it, for any weakness in clarity or logic. When it has been com- 
pleted, it should be checked carefully, not only to bring these 
faults to light, but, even more, to make absolutely certain 
that the movie, as we have planned it, will do what we want 
it to do, as nearly as we can be sure of this, in advance. It 
should begin at a definite beginning, carry on through entirely 


understandable sections and, finally, reach a definite and cli- 
mactic end. If it does not seem that the completed plan will 
insure these things, it should be recast, to make sure that they 
will be accomplished. 

Human significance 

The plan of a film that is designed to sell a product should 
not fail to take into account the human significance of that 
product. By this term, we mean such questions as these: What 
value has the product for the average person? What are the 
pressures or needs that will cause anybody to buy it? 

To return to our washing machine, let us see what human 
significance it may have. Obviously, it makes the back break- 
ing labor of the old fashioned "wash day" unnecessary. It 
cleanses garments better, in less time and for less money. Here 
are the real reasons why a woman will like it; we know at once 
that these reasons must be presented persuasively and clearly 
in any film that endeavors to sell washing machines. 

What is the human significance of a savings bank? It pro- 
vides protection, in case of illness, security in old age and 
ready funds, when we want to buy an automobile or to enjoy 
a cruise to the Bahamas. If you will dramatize any one of 
these facts, you will have the basis for your film plan. 

A weakness of business films is found in a too detailed ex- 
position of manufacturing processes. The public is almost 
never as interested in these, as is the manufacturer himself. 
Unless they contribute directly and quite evidently to the 
value of the product in its human service, they are best left 
out of any movie presentation. Housewives will not ask how 
the gears of a washing machine are ground; they may want to 
know why those gears make the machine more effective. But 
they will appreciate a seamless wash tub, that is spun from 
aluminum, because they know that it will not leak. They will 
understand the value to them of a well placed wringer that has 
adequate protective features. If you make movies of your own 
products, guard against the inclusion of footage that deals 


with things of which you are proud, but which are difficult to 
express in human terms. 

We know that a film cannot be successful, if it tries to 
present too many ideas. Experience has shown that it will fail, 
also, if it has too many producers. Whoever would make a 
business film or a persuasive picture must insist upon a clean 
cut understanding as to whose word is law. It may be his own 
word; it may be that of his superior, but it cannot be the 
divergent opinions of several eager, but relatively uninformed, 
persons who are members of the organization's staff. 

The most reasonable solution of this problem is found when 
a business executive outlines the ideas that he would like to 
have presented in film, and when the movie maker decides 
which of these are capable of being filmed and how the filming 
must be accomplished. 

Just as special purpose films may be spoiled by too many 
ideas and by too many producers, so they may be made dull 
and ponderous by too many titles. A cameraman who titles 
his personal films with good judgment is sometimes over- 
whelmed by the novelty of attempting to show special proc- 
esses, with the result that he relies so greatly upon titles, to 
explain what the film presents, that he offers more captions 
than actions. These verbal intrusions will grow long, even to 
the use of the indefensible scroll title, and the film will become 
a kind of illustrated sign board. Even if we make our movies 
for the purpose of presenting details of a special kind, we must 
never forget that they are, first of all, movies and that they 
must be made according to the rules by which good movies are 


A photoplay may be produced purely for entertainment, or 
it may be planned to serve other purposes, as well. Many 
persuasive, business and teaching films are actually photo- 
plays, which require carefully prepared plots, well chosen 
actors and expert direction. 


A simple, homemade photoplay, that may be produced with 
members of your family as the cast and with the cameraman 
as the director, is real fun, both in its making and in its show- 
ing. It is likely to please your friends to a greater extent than 
will any other type of family picture. 

Making an amateur photoplay with maximum pleasure and 
minimum difficulty is greatly furthered by choosing a plot 
which can be filmed by means of settings, locations and actors 
that are readily available. If, also, the actors are not required 
to portray emotions and attitudes that lie outside their ex- 
perience and if the plot is both brief and simple, the photoplay 
is likely to be a success. 

If you live on a ranch, you can film a "Western"; if you 
dwell in an apartment in New York City, you will do well to 
plan a picture that will fit that setting. If your prospective 
actors are guests at a week end party, you should choose a 
plot that is based upon such an event. Then, the settings and 
the incidental action that you may require will be right at 


Plots are adaptable, and it is easy to transpose the action 
or locale, to fit actors or settings that are available. One can 
glean simple situations for plots from short stories or from 
the comic sections of newspapers, and one can alter them to 
fit his needs. 

If John loves Marjorie, and wants to keep other men away 
from her, the story can be located on a New England farm, 
in Palm Beach or in Chicago. John can be cast as a farmer, a 
life guard or a business man. Marjorie can be a high school 
girl, a vacationing debutante or a stenographer. 

Since basic plots are so adaptable, it is easy enough to cut 
your suit to fit your cloth. One caution should be observed: 
most plots that you might use will require shortening and 
simplification, since the production of elaborate stories calls 
for great effort and quantities of film. You will be surprised 


by the footage that will be needed, to film even a simple plot. 

Elaborate plots are also likely to demand skilful acting, and, 
unless you want to produce a burlesque and this is fun, too 
you should not demand greater Thespian ability than your 
actors can supply. 

If you do not find a plot that fits your needs, you can ask 
the Amateur Cinema League for a Film Treatment Chart. If 
you will prepare this and return it to the League, a plot treat- 
ment that is made to your order will be sent to you. 

You may prefer to write a plot. You will probably want to 
do this, if the photoplay is designed to serve some particular 
purpose, beyond entertainment. You might want to tell, in 
dramatic form, the story of the development of safeguards for 
health; you might want to produce a photoplay to advertise, 
indirectly, the advantages of a summer camp. You may want 
to show how your heroine attains some particular objective by 
using a certain product, which the film is designed to adver- 
tise, although this treatment has been worn threadbare by 
trite handling in the comic sections of newspapers, in which 
Sally gets her man or becomes the leader of her set, by means 
of soap, tea, cosmetics or a tinned comestible. 

The proof of a good movie plot is found in its capacity to 
stimulate curiosity. The audience should want to know what 
will happen next. Interest will be maintained by curiosity, as 
the film story develops. 

The opening of a plot states the problem and poses the 
question that the climax will answer. The patient is ill. Will 
he recover? John loves Mary. Will he win her? Bobby wants 
to help Daddy with his photography, so, while Dad is absent, 
he goes to work in the darkroom. What will happen? 

A plot's development occurs in its "middle action." The 
patient does not get well immediately; John does not win 
Mary at once. There are obstacles that must be overcome. 
And here enters the villain, who represents the opposing forces. 
The villain may be nature, the perversity of fate or a specific 
person who has plans that run counter to those of the hero 


The extent to which the middle action is developed deter- 
mines the length of the photoplay. There may be numerous 
obstacles and all kinds of conditional factors. John loves Mary, 
and she appears to return his affection, but the son of John's 
employer also loves her, and John is afraid that he will lose 
his position. The employer's son is heavily in debt, and he is 
desperate. He steals the jewels of his hostess, during the course 
of a week end party, and Mary is accused of the theft. 

The plot is advanced, not by a steady progression of diffi- 
culties that mount relentlessly to a climax, but by a develop- 
ment which lets tension rise, diminish and then rise again. If 
trials are heaped upon the hero with monotonous regularity, 
the story will be too grim for our modern taste; hence, we 
have subsidiary motives and "comedy relief." 

At the end, or climax, of the plot, the solution for which the 
audience has been waiting is provided. We learn whether John 
or the thief gets Mary and whether the serum arrives in time, 
so that the patient is saved. The solution itself may pose a 
broad social question shall these conditions be allowed to 
continue? but the climax has one chief function, which is to 
satisfy the curiosity that has been aroused. 

Two very useful devices of movie plots are the "hook," by 
which you can stimulate curiosity in the first two or three 
scenes of a picture, and the "twist," that enables you to sur- 
prise your audience with a novel ending. The "hook" may be 
applied to any film that is dramatic or quasi dramatic. In the 
first shot, Jack is seen, sharpening an enormous knife. Is he 
planning a murder? No. He is about to hack a can of beans 
open. Later scenes will reveal the fact that he had tried, 
earlier, to make use of a flimsy can opener and that he had 
reached the end of his patience. 

The "twist," or surprise ending, is a device that is well 
known to every patron of the theatrical screen. The brutish 
thug was Tio* the murderer; the suave attorney was the guilty 
man. John did not win Mary; she had enough of his fears and 
vacillation, so she took the son of the hostess, leaving both 
John and the jewel thief flat. 



When our plot has been selected, we have then to write a 
"treatment." This is a synopsis of the story, as our picture 
will tell it, but a synopsis that describes the story in terms 
of what will be seen on the screen, with all extraneous matters 
excluded. When we have prepared the treatment, we are 
ready, at last, for our scenario. This is also known as a script. 


Although we may film many kinds of movies without the 
aid of a written script, a photoplay, a persuasive movie or a 
business film requires a carefully prepared scenario. Earlier 
in this book, we have seen examples of short scenarios, or of 
parts of them. The scenario is nothing more than a list of 
scenes, which is amplified by notations of the camera positions 
that each requires. 

Most filmers, in their early scenarios, include too much 
action in one scene. Doing this tends to make the story 
monotonous and to cause the omission of close shots of things 
that should be seen. Although it would actually be possible 
to use too many different camera positions, to portray a se- 
quence of action, this superfluity is never encountered, and 
the error is always in the other direction. 

The typographical style of a scenario is not important; how- 
ever, the form that follows has been found to be convenient. 

Scene Camera Setting or Description of action 

number position location and notations of cam- 

era technique and 
methods of direction. 

Scene 1. Medium shot. Boat house. Johns rows dinghy 

into scene. He jumps 
out, carrying a pack- 
age which he carefully 
places beside him, 
while he ties painter 
to wharf. 



Scene 2. Semi closeup. Boat house. 

Scene 3. Medium shot. Boat house. 

Scene 4. Medium shot. Path. 

Scene 5. Semi closeup. 

John is tying knot, 
working in haste. He 
looks around furtive- 

John finishes. Stands 
upright, and wipes 
his forehead, looking 
about apprehensively. 
He picks up his pack- 
age carefully; then, 
he suddenly looks 
past camera. He hears 
something. He pauses; 
then he darts into 
boat house. 

Reverse camera posi- 
tion, to show Mary 
running toward boat 
house. She waves a 

Boat house. Mary runs into scene. 
Stops short, bewil- 
dered. She shouts. 

Title 1. "John! Oh, John!" 

Scene 6. Medium shot. Boat house. Mary looks anxiously 

about. John comes 
out of boat house be- 
hind her. He is not 
carrying the package. 
Mary turns, sees him 
and runs toward him. 

Scene 7. Semi closeup. 

Boat house. John, from Mary's 
viewpoint. He speaks. 


Title 2. "What's the fuss, Mary?" 

Scene 8. Semi closeup. Boat house. Include both John and 

Mary. Mary evidently 
asks John where he 
has been. John replies 
vaguely and shrugs 
his shoulders. John 
reaches for the letter. 
Mary gives it to him. 

Spoken titles 

The spoken title is a necessity that is peculiar to the silent 
movie; one will see few examples of its use today, in theatrical 
films. In the employment of spoken titles, the prime requisite 
is that the speaker shall be identified clearly. If two persons 
are talking together, we must indicate definitely, by the con- 
text of the title or by the accompanying shots, which of them 
is supposed to have spoken the words of the caption. 

In the short section of a scenario that we have just read, 
there could be no doubt that it was Mary who called, "John! 
Oh, John!" (Note that this title tells the audience the name 
of an important character in the story.) The title which 
represents John's reply is preceded by a semi closeup of the 
speaker; also, the context of the title is such that he, alone, 
could have spoken it. (Note that the second caption informs 
the audience of Mary's name.) 

For the production of a photoplay or a special purpose film, 
a "location script," or list of settings and locations, is a valu- 
able adjunct. Under each entry on this list, all scenes that will 
be made in that particular place should be grouped. If a loca- 
tion script is employed, we may shoot, at one time, the whole 
group of scenes that are to be filmed in a certain neighbor- 
hood. Doing this will save us the necessity of a second visit 
to the locale. 

In producing a dramatic film, one must be careful of minor 


details. Mary must not wear one dress, in a medium shot 
(filmed on Tuesday) , and another, in the succeeding closeup 
(filmed during the following week end). 

Before filming begins, the amateur photoplay maker should 
assure himself that the entire cast is costumed correctly and 
that all requisite properties and accessories are at hand. When 
groups or movie clubs produce photoplays, one member may 
be put in charge of properties, another may check costumes, 
a third may handle lights and reflectors and a fourth may 
have the task of following the script carefully, to make sure 
that every scene is filmed and that the action accords with 
the preconceived plan. 

Human records 

For the ambitious and imaginative movie maker, there is a 
real challenge in the human record. Although pictures of this 
kind are included in the category of special purpose films 
largely for convenience, they are of a special kind, because 
they offer an unexcelled opportunity for artistic expression. 

Human records are films that tell us how people live, how 
they work and how they play. They should be simple and sin- 
cere, and they should present actual life. Although many pic- 
tures of this kind have been packed with propaganda and 
have falsified reality, to prove political or economic theories, 
a human record should have no axe to grind. It should rest 
on facts, as these facts are observed without ulterior purpose, 
by a cameraman who seeks beauty and simplicity, rather than 

Human records that have won amateur honors are Mexican 
Fiestas and L'lle d'Orleans, which range over a country or an 
area, and Riches from the Sea and Vida Pacoima, that are con- 
fined to one locality. Their makers presented life, without 
bending it to serve a special end, and, having seen its signifi- 
cance, they permitted this to speak for itself, without added 
comment. That is the true technique of human records. 


THERE is no reason why a hobby should not pay, in 
part, at least, its own way. 
Many amateur filmers have found that they can meet 
some of the expenses of their movie making, if not all of them, 
by placing the special abilities, that they have acquired, at the 
disposal of other persons who can use them. For some camera- 
men, substandard movies have begun as a hobby and have 
continued as a livelihood. This is a logical progression, be- 
cause, as a filmer's skill and the amount of his equipment 
increase, opportunities for employing them commercially are 
more often presented. 

If profits from your movies attract you, the first step toward 
earning them may be found in doing for others just what you 
have been doing for yourself, that is, in making personal films, 
and in making them, not for your own pleasure, but to serve 
other people. Every family that has a movie projector should 
have good film records of important occasions in its history. 
Weddings, birthdays, reunions, graduation ceremonies and 
anniversaries of all kinds afford opportunities for your camera 
to pay its way. Golfers will find that slow motion analyses 
of their strokes are worth buying; coaches of athletic teams 
can be persuaded to find money for films that will aid them 
in their work. 

Projection also can bring profits. Churches, schools and 
clubs frequently want movies for particular occasions; you 
can provide these, by using your own projector and by renting 



films that are commercially available. Somebody in your com- 
munity may need your help in editing and titling his footage, 
particularly, if he is faced with a time limit and can neither 
do the work himself nor send his films to some editing and 
titling company that is located at a distance from his home. 

Business filming to order 

In the chapter that precedes this one, we have read about 
business films. Many firms can use them, but they lack com- 
petent filmers who can make them. There is no reason why 
you should not supply this deficiency in your own neighbor- 
hood, because you know the business men in it and they know 
you. But you must take the initiative, and you cannot expect 
to find a ready reception of your suggestions, because not 
everybody is convinced that movies will serve his practical 

A substandard filmer who would turn his skill to commercial 
ends must be an active salesman; he must look about his 
community, to find instances in which films could be of 
genuine service to his friends, in their daily work; he must 
then present a cogent plan for his movie enterprise and he 
must be able to give to it such interest and conviction that 
his aid will be enlisted wholeheartedly. Proposals should be 
suited to the resources of the firm that will, hopefully, employ 
him, to carry them out. 

If you have to ox with business enterprises of some size, 
you may find that their executives will have spent large sums 
of money, in the past, for motion pictures which did not bring 
in enough extra revenue to justify their high cost, because tne 
films were produced in 35mm. width and with the elaborate 
methods of commercial studios. Perhaps, these executiv-s 
may not have bought movies; they may only have deci ed 
against buying them, after an investigation of their expense. 
If you meet these situations, you should emphasize the greatly 
lessened cost of 16inm. production, but you should make it 


quite clear that your plans do not provide for elaborate studio 

Sometimes, you can persuade several small firms to unite 
in a filming enterprise, which you could offer under a title, 
such as The Merchants of Main Street Present. In a produc- 
tion of this kind, the costs would be divided among a number 
of concerns, so that the expense, to be borne by each of them, 
would be small. 

Business filming has been undertaken by many movie mak- 
ers, and pictures have been made, in small communities and 
in large centers of commerce, that show such widely assorted 
activities as dairy farming and the methods of home loan 

Working for doctors 

Surgeons and dentists, as we have learned, make full use of 
movies, in exchanging information about their technique, al- 
though not every one of them can do his own filming. You 
may very well visit the members of these professions in your 
city or town, to discover whether some of them have not 
developed new professional methods that they would like 
to show to their colleagues. Hospitals find movies to be of 
great value, in training internes and nurses; medical associa- 
tions may raise funds, to film a presentation of some aspect 
of community health; colleges are large users of motion pic- 
tures, in their medical, surgical and dental schools. Movies 
that deal with these matters call for very special methods 
of production and for patience and exactness, but they are 
more than normally profitable, because their length may be 
extensive, since they have to present full technical procedures 
with few elisions. 

Films for organizations 

Organizations of many kinds use movies in securing funds, 
to carry on their activities. Community chests, chambers of 
commerce, educational, civic, religious, scientific and charitable 


bodies will appeal, from time to time, for public support. 
These "drives" will give the alert filmer occasions for selling 
his services. Sometimes, a club or a church will celebrate some 
event in its history; a film record of this celebration may well 
be suggested as a proper accompaniment of the event itself. 

Films as detectives 

Motion pictures have become expert witnesses in the court 
room. Making films, to serve this legal purpose, is better 
accomplished with small, substandard cameras than with 
larger, and more readily observed, equipment. Movies have 
been chiefly employed in trials that result from claims for 
insurance, when somebody fraudulently asks payment for a 
disability which is, allegedly, caused by an accident against 
which he is insured. His witnesses, expert and ordinary, may 
be totally confounded by the projection of films that show 
him, active and agile, going about his daily work, although 
his legal contention is that he cannot engage in any gainful 

Films that will be projected before courts must be made 
after simple, but rigid, requirements. Footage must be uncut 
and unedited, because it must present a series of actions just 
as they occurred, and there can be no recourse to tricks of the 
camera. A movie maker who films evidential pictures must 
project them in court. Since he will be offered as an expert 
in the legal sense of this term he must expect hostile cross 
examination. He should be prepared to give a straightforward 
account of the whole procedure of filming, of preparing the 
film for projection and of the projection itself. 

Films with lectures 

All the world seems to love a lecturer, especially if he shows 
movies. Whether it is easier for a lecturer to learn movie 
making or for a movie maker to learn lecturing must be left 
to individual research. It is, however, possible for a movie 
maker to show his own pictures and to talk about them, be- 


cause many filmers have done this very thing with profit. 
The churches, schools and clubs of your community may be 
willing to pay you a fee for showing the results of your 
Mexican holiday on a screen. If you can persuade them to do 
this, you will, perhaps, have built a springboard from which 
you may eventually leap into the full current of lecturing 
and, thus, provide for yourself a pleasant and a lucrative 

The opportunities to make profits from your movies exist 
only in the non theatrical field. Experience has shown that 
theatrical motion picture producers are very unlikely pur- 
chasers of substandard footage, except in those rare instances 
in which some unpredictable and exceptional event has oc- 
curred that theatrical newsreel men failed to film, but which 
a personal filmer has recorded. Then, any footage is better 
than none, as far as the newsreel companies are concerned, 
and yours, if you were at hand, will probably be salable. The 
unwillingness of 35mm. motion picture companies to use 
16mm. movies does not proceed, necessarily, from a dislike of 
the narrower film, but from the difficulty of its employment, 
since substandard footage must be reproduced on 35mm. film; 
this reproduction will increase the "grain" of the projected 
picture, so that the result on the screen will be similar to that 
of a halftone engraving in a newspaper which employs a very 
coarse "screen," in preparing a plate from an original photo- 
graph. Also, the projection speed that is used for 35mm. sound 
prints, in theatrical showings, is different from that which is 
employed with 16mm. silent footage. 


There is some probability that television will be able to 
make use of substandard movies, because experiments have 
already been conducted, to determine the feasibility of such 
an employment. At present, only short movies, running be- 
tween one hundred and two hundred feet of 16mm. film, are 
acceptable for television. Subjects must, therefore, be brief, but 


they should be complete. They will best report some relatively 
unknown activity, so that they will have both educational 
value and human interest. For the happiest results in tele- 
vision reproduction, long shots should be avoided and medium 
shots and closer views should be taken of whatever is filmed. 
Substandard cameras and projectors and the films that are 
used in them will permit a movie maker to record and to show 
pictures that will meet a wide variety of non theatrical needs. 
We can make profits from our hobby, if we can bring to it 
the necessary initiative, imagination and skill. 



'OST readers of this book have bought the basic tools 
of movie making. For them, shopping chiefly involves 
the addition of accessories, although some persons 
will make replacements of their initial equipment. There are 
services, as well as goods, which are offered to personal and to 
special purpose filmers, and shopping will frequently be con- 
cerned with them. 

The movie shopper should, first of all, determine to buy 
intelligently. New equipment should be acquired, to meet 
specific needs and not through "hit or miss" purchases, which 
can be very wasteful. 

The tools of movie making are good tools, honestly made, 
whose performance is consistent with the prices that are 
charged for them. The purchaser does not face the problem of 
avoiding worthless equipment, but, rather, that of determining 
just what he wants a machine to accomplish. When you have 
decided what you wish to do, you can readily find good tools 
and services with which to do it. 

Members of the Amateur Cinema League can secure prac- 
tical counsel upon their equipment needs, by requesting it from 
the League's consultants. This request should indicate the 
purpose which new equipment is to serve; it should also give 
information of what the filmer already possesses, which should 
be specified in detail. Dependable stores also will give excellent 
advice to those who want more movie tools. 

After you have discovered what you need, to do the things 


that you want to do, buy it, if the price is within the range of 
what you care to pay. If it is beyond that range, a request to 
the League will frequently bring substitute suggestions. 

Eight or sixteen? 

Filmers who use the 8mm. system of movie making some- 
times ask whether they should abandon it, in favor of 16mm. 
filming. The great advantage of 8mm. movies over 16mm. 
films is found in their smaller cost. This may not be so ap- 
parent in the initial purchase of equipment, but it becomes 
evident in the matter of upkeep by which is meant, of course, 
the purchase of film. All kinds of 8mm. film are less expensive, 
when expense is computed on the basis of minutes of screening 
time, than is comparable 16mm. footage. The favorable dif- 
ferential runs from one third to one half in monochrome or 
color emulsions. Other accessories, such as reels and film 
containers, are less expensive in the 8mm. size. 

Movie makers who use 8mm. equipment and film produce 
excellent results. Since the advent of the 8mm. system in 19- 
32, a wide range of basic equipment and accessories have been 
provided for it. Thus, the day has long since passed when the 
8mm. worker need, or in fact does, feel himself the poor re- 
lation of personal movies. 

The disadvantages of the 8mm. filming system are not 
many. The size of the image on the screen is smaller than that 
which can be secured from 16min. film, but larger images 
are essential only for public projections; therefore, 8mm. 
pictures are entirely satisfactory for showing in the home. 
Special purpose films are more serviceable, if they are pro- 
duced in 16mm. width, because many persons and most organ- 
izations that will borrow them have 16mm. projectors. If the 
projection is always to be performed by the maker of the film, 
or by his agents, he can control the choice of equipment and, 
hence, he can use 8mm. film before small and medium sized 


A full range of desirable emulsions fine grain panchro- 
matic, superspeed panchromatic and color film are available 
to the 8mm. worker. Although the photronic sound-on-film 
track is not likely to be adapted to 8mm. film, magnetic 
sound tracks, coated on new or existing films, are a promise 
for the future. 

Closeups that are made with 8mm. equipment compare 
favorably with those that are recorded on 16mm. film, in black 
and white and in color, although distant shots that are filmed 
in 8mm. color seem to be less sharp on the screen than those 
that are made in the 16mm. width. 

Added feature* 

Many cameras can be adapted to purposes that are not 
served by the unmodified instrument. Adaptations include 
the addition of hand cranks, reverse takeups, single frame re- 
leases and other valuable features. If you are interested in 
any of these, you should be quite certain that you know what 
they will do, before you add them to your camera. Some 
manufacturers of cameras will decline to make adaptations, 
which are carried out, otherwise, by special machinists. The 
advice of the Amateur Cinema League should be sought by its 
members, before they order these modifications. 


Do not get a new camera, merely because it is more elaborate 
than your old one. Be sure that you really need additional 
features, before you abandon equipment that can serve you 
fully. When you do exchange a simple instrument for one 
that is more complex, it may be well to get a camera that will 
give you many new facilities, because your ability and the 
range of your filming interest will increase, when you get 
beyond the level of the average. 

A new camera should be chosen because it does things that 
you want it to do. The choice of instruments is wide, and each 
will accomplish some particular feat that its maker believes 


will be of great value to those who purchase it. You should 
buy specific features that will suit your needs. 

A new projector will be acquired because of definite projec- 
tion requirements. The freedom of combining different lenses 
and lamps is a convenience. Reel arms that will accommodate 
larger amounts of footage and the capacity of projecting sound 
on film pictures are both factors that will influence you, in 
buying a new machine. 

The types and purposes of movie screens have been dis- 
cussed adequately, elsewhere in this book. 

Some persons habitually possess one or more cameras and, 
possibly, more than one projector. A "second camera" is a 
convenience, particularly, if it is small and light in weight. 
Magazine loading cameras and 8mm. machines are very popu- 
lar, for this reason. 

Used goods 

Movie makers will buy used equipment. The first step in 
doing this is to select a reliable store, or a concern or person 
that advertises in dependable periodicals. It is always well 
to buy used equipment with the privilege of return, after trial. 
One should have a clear understanding about the condition 
of the items. Do you take them "as is," or does the agreement 
call for them to be in perfect working order? If you buy used 
equipment, it is prudent to have its manufacturer examine 
the lenses and other instruments of precision that are involved, 
although you must expect to pay a fee for this service, since 
the maker of these devices will gain nothing by the sale of 
used items. If you buy exposure meters or range finders, that 
are not new, you should have these checked by competent 
workmen, before you use them. 

If the prices of used equipment seem to be extremely low, 
after you have considered the age of the offerings, be cau- 
tious. Their condition may be poor, or the goods may not 
have a clear title. You should make it a rule, not to buy 
equipment from unknown persons at ridiculously low prices, 


without getting a verified history of the items and without 
examining them very closely. 

Buying film 

What film shall we buy? Here is a question about which 
every movie maker should have reliable information. Two 
factors are involved; the first is that of the particular type 
of emulsion which you need, to achieve specific results; the 
second is concerned with the kind of handling, or processing, 
that it will receive after you have exposed it. As far as the 
first of these is concerned, League members will find it advis- 
able to discuss the question with the League's consultants, if 
they have any doubt as to the best emulsion, to be used for a 
definite purpose. 

Dependable film processing can be expected from those com- 
panies that have demonstrated their ability to provide uni- 
form results over a period of years, and that have at their 
command the necessary machinery to do this work well. Or- 
ganizations that have a large number of processing stations, 
located all over the world, will offer you an additional con- 
venience, particularly, if you are far from the place where the 
film was manufactured. 

The prices of good emulsions that may be used with full con- 
fidence in their performance, in their freshness (which will 
be indicated by the date which appears on packages of unex- 
posed film) and in their subsequent processing, which most 
companies sell, included in the initial price, are fairly uniform. 
Film that will perform special functions often costs more than 
ordinary emulsions. When you pay more for film, be sure that 
you know why you need it, and do not use more expensive 
footage, unless you really require it. Reliable manufacturers 
will give impartial information and will make no effort to sell 
you more costly products than you need. The prices that are 
charged by the better known companies are based on the 
specific attributes of the different emulsions; they do not rep- 
resent competitive bidding for the movie maker's dollar. 


Processing is very important. The large companies that 
sell movie film have proved their ability to perform this im- 
portant task carefully and well. Some smaller organizations 
have built up records for dependability, by years of satisfac- 
tory relations with the public. Before you buy film, particular- 
ly, if its price is lower than that which is charged by the older 
companies, assure yourself that you are dealing with a busi- 
ness concern that will be able to perform complex processing 
adequately, and that makes no claims that cannot be accepted 
at full value. 

Ready made films 

Films that are ready to project can be bought or rented. If 
you will be giving frequent movie programs, you will find it 
advisable to assemble a library of films that you will own; 
records of important historical events are desirable possessions 
which will serve you well in later years. If you are greatly in- 
terested in any subject, you will find that films that deal with 
it are worth buying. Rented films are a real convenience, when 
you invite your friends to a movie party, especially if your 
own footage is fairly limited in quantity and in range of in- 
terest. These rented additions to your program can be secured 
at a reasonable cost and without delay. Companies that ex- 
change films, on a permanent ownership basis, will enable you 
to refresh your film library conveniently. Rental and exchange 
are less expensive, of course, than outright purchase. 

A wide assortment of pictures is available, without charge, 
besides the cost of transportation. Some of these are offered 
by various governmental units, others may be secured from 
societies that wish to further their purposes by movies, and 
a very large number are offered by commercial concerns, 
for the purpose of increasing their sales. This purpose does 
not usually make a film unsuitable for most programs, be- 
cause the advertising is generally unobtrusive. Lists of "free 
films" are available from various sources. Not every one of 


these films will be sent to individuals; many of the distributing 
organizations will require that their pictures be shown to a 
specifically minimum number of persons, before they will lend 


The services that are offered to personal and to special pur- 
pose filmers are comprehensive. Titles can be made for you, 
and your editing can be performed as you direct, or, if you 
prefer, without your direction. Scenarios can be prepared, to 
meet your needs, and sound can be added to your finished 
movies. These services will be honestly performed, if they are 
those that are advertised in reputable publications; their cost 
is not excessive. 

Cameras and projectors can often be rented from movie 
and photographic stores. If you want both the equipment and 
somebody to operate it, many dealers will provide this service 
also. A number of competent individuals or companies will 
make films of special events, such as weddings, graduation 
ceremonies, awards of honors and similar occasions, so that 
you need not be without a movie record, if circumstances pre- 
vent your making it. 

Repairs to movie equipment should generally be made by 
the companies that manufacture it, although many movie 
dealers and special repair shops are entirely dependable, if 
you should find it inconvenient to send your instruments to a 



Described, 217 

Methods of using, 217 

Characteristics, 248, 250 

Daylight type, 248, 250 

Exposure index, daylight (table), 

Exposure index, Tungsten (table), 

Indoor, 248 

Interchangeability with Koda- 
chrome, 248 

Outdoor, 248 

Tungsten type, 248, 250 




OF, 9 

Described, 59 

Effect of, 196 

Interior, 199 

With water films, 118 

By hand, 219 

Described, 104 


Denned, 4 

Production of, 273-284 


Aperture, defined, 18 

Care of, 24, 119 

Carrying case for, 107 

Claw, defined, 18 

Cleaning, 24 

Diagram of, 19 

Diaphragm, purpose of, 40 

Essential parts, 18 

Essentials of, 1 

Gate, defined. 18 

Half speed of, 57 

Lens, denned, 24 

Loading of, 22 

Oiling, 24 

Position, 12 

Precaution against movement of, 55 

Scratches caused by, 24 

Shutter, defined, 18 

Speeds, 21, 39, 56 

Sprocket, defined, 20 

Supply reel, defined, 20 

Supports, 94 

Takeup reel, defined, 20 

Threading the, described, 23 

Tricks, 85, 86, 174, 209-222 

Viewfinder, 21 

Defined, 73 

Illustrated, 73 



FOR, 79 





Camera, 24 

Film, 155 

Projector, 179 



Ultra, 230-235 

With telephotos, 225 
COLOR FILM, 247-265 

Characteristics, 248-251 

Exposing, 251 

Exposure indexes for (tables), 

Exposure, indoors, 261-265 

Exposure meter, with incident 
light type, 257 

Exposure meter, with reflected 
light type, 256 

Exposures, daylight, recommended 
(table), 255 

Exposures, indoors, recommended 
(table), 262 

Interchangeability, 248 

Lighting and subject contrast, 259 

Lighting, indoors, 261-265 


Subjects for, 254 

Types available, 248 

Using instructions, 252 

Weather conditions, 252 

Defined, 11 

For travel films, 136 


Devices for securing, 106 

In interior lighting, 200 

Described, 105 

Simulated, 238 

Speed of, 239 

Use of, 238 

DOUBLE EXPOSURE, 104, 218-220 

Of reversal film, 29, 186 

Splicing, 150 



Cleanliness in, 148-150 

Defined, 147 

Methods of, 148-164 
EIGHT MILLIMETER, 21, 174, 210, 



Calculators, 43 

Defined, 38 

For interior scenes, 200 

How to determine, 43 

Importance of correct, 42 

In tropics, 50 

Keeping records of, 51 

Meters, use of, 44, 256, 257 

EXPOSURE TABLES, 249-251, 255, 


Film, Ansco Color, Kodachrome 
DENTAL FILM, 268, 294 
Changes in, with different camera 

speeds, 58 
Function of, 26, 40 



Denned, 41 

Diagram of, 41 
FADES, 235-238 
"FAKING" SHOTS, 115, 212 




Anti halation coating of, 29 

Base, defined, 26 

Care of. 184 

Cement, 149 

Classifications of, 30 

Cleaning, 155 

Color, described, 31, 248-251 

"Double Eight," described, 22 

Duplicates of reversal, 29, 186. 

Emulsion of, defined, 26 

Extra fast, 31 

Humidifying, 184 

Inspecting before projection, 178 

Length of rolls of, 22 

Life of, 185 

Negative, described, 29 

Orthochromatic, 31 

Panchromatic, 31 

Perforations in, 21 

Positive, described, 29 

Print, described, 29 

Reversal of, described, 29 

Scratches caused in camera, 24 

Special treatments for, 186 

Speed of, 30, 44 

Splicing various types, 150 

Storage of, 184 

Widths, 2, 22 

Denned, 94 

Factors of, 98 

For color film, 249-251 

Green, 96 

Neutral density, 100 

Red, 96, 99 

Used in winter scenes, 121 

Yellow, 96. 99 

Defined, 59 

Interior, 193 

Not used in winter scenes, 121 

Amperage of, 198 

Described, 189, 261 

Described, 52 

Devices for securing, 106, 231 



"FREEZING" TRICK, 85, 86, 87, 211 



Camera, defined, 18 

Projector, cleaning, 34 


"HI LO" SWITCH, 198 
HOOD. LENS, 106 



FOR. 191 



Characteristics, 248, 249 
Daylight type, 248, 249 
Exposure index, daylight (table), 

Exposure index, Type A (table), 


Filters for, 249-251 
Indoor, 248 
Interchangeability with Ansco 

Color, 248 
Outdoor, 248 
Type A, 248, 249 

Household, use of, 190 



Projection, 33, 180, 182 
LEADER, 153 


Camera, defined, 24 

Care of, 26 

Depth of field of, 54 

Fast, 26 

Fixed focus, 52 

Flare, described, 26 

Focal length, 224 

Focusing, 52 

Hoods, 106 

Mounts, 103 

Normal, 225 

Projector, defined, 34 

Speed identification of, 42 

Telephoto, 25, 223-234 

Wide angle, purpose of, 25 

Back, 59, 196 

Color film, 261-265 

Contrast, 259 

Forty five degree, 196 

Interior, diagrams of, 191-193 

Rule for lamp placement, 199 

Side, described, 59 

Side, interior, 194 

Titles, 171 

Top, described, 60 

Types of, 59 



MEDICAL FILMS, 4, 280. 294 


Distance, 53 

Exposure, 44, 200 




NARRATION, 187-188, 268-271 



Camera, 24 

Projector, 179 



PARALLEL ACTION, 80, 145, 161 

Laboratory marks, 153 

Reason for, 21 

PERSUASIVE FILMS, 4, 278, 294 

FROM, 1 


FILMS, 280 
PLOTS, 285-287 



Filters not used with, 99 

Used for titles, 173 

Defined, 266 

Filming for, 267 




For camera use, 36, 64 

For film use, 37 

For projector use, 37 

Described, 29 

Splicing, 150 

COST, 302 

Arranging audience for, 177 

Formal, 181 

In daytime, 183 

Precautions in, 35 

Shall we talk during, 180 

Size of images in, 36 

Sound, 272 

Arranging for projection, 179 

Cleaning, 178 

Described, 33 

Essentials of, 3 

Oiling, 179 


Use of, 186 

REFLECTOR, 195, 197 
RELIGIOUS FILMS, 4, 279, 295 

Described, 29 

Splicing, 150 


Effects with, 85, 174, 211 

Splicing 8mm. film of, 210 

AT, 144 
"RUNNING GAG," 110, 144 



SCENARIO, 288-290 


Basic unit, 13 

Division into, 12 

Length of, 54, 164 

Caused in camera, 24 

Caused in projector, 185 

Defined, 3 

Distance from projector, 182 

Placement of, 176 

Size of, 183 

Supports for, 183 

Types of surfaces of, 36 

13. 74 



Denned, 15 

Purpose of, 16 


SHIP TRAVEL, 125, 132 

Camera, denned, 18 

Variable, 105 

Defined, 59 

Interior, 194 
SILHOUETTE, 60, 203 


Defined, 56 

Uses of, 56 

With water sport films, 118 

Accompaniment by, 186-188 

Effects, 187 

Making records for, 188 

Narration with, 187 



Post recording with, 266 

Projection, 272 

Recorders, disc, for, 188 

Recording instrument, 2 

Use of microphone with, 188 

Camera, 18, 21 

Of film, 44, 51 

Described, 148 

Operation of, 148 

Film of different types, 150 

Precautions in, 154 



HAVE, 8 

Damage to camera by, 119 

With artificial light, 197 


SURGICAL FILMS, 4, 280, 294 
"SWISH PAN," 240 

Ansco Color, daylight type, 250 
Ansco Color, Tungsten type, 251 
Kodachrome, daylight type, 249 
Kodachrome, Type A, 250 
Recommended exposures, daylight, 

Recommended exposures, indoors, 



TEACHING FILM, 4, 279, 294 
TELEPHOTO LENS, 25, 223-232 
Defined, 3 
Not discussed, 5 


Camera, described, 23 

Defined, 20 


Described, 170 

Used with closeups, 232 

Background for, 171 

Background, moving, for, 174 

Basic types of, 161 

Characters for, 170-173 

Commercially made, 169 

Credit, 165-166 

Fades with, 239 

Filming, 173 

Lead title assembly, 165 

Length of, 173 

Lettering on, 169-173 

Lighting, 171 

Main, 165 

Making your own, 169 

Preparing cards for, 171 

Splicing, 156 

Spoken, 290 

Styles of, 169 

Subtitles, 166 

Subtitles in post recorded sound, 

Traveling, 168 

Tricks used in, 174, 234 

Wipeoff used in, 175 

With special purpose films, 284 

Wording of, 166-168 
TRANSITION, 109, 138, 235 

Plans for, 124 

Types of, 108, 127 
TRICK, "FREEZING," 85, 86, 87, 212 
TRICKS, 85, 86, 131, 174, 209 

Advantages of, 92 

Required with telephotos, 226 




"TWIST," 287 











Purpose of, 25 

Used indoors, 202 

Described, 105 

How to make, 241 

Used in titles, 175 

movie of a parade or pageant, a football g 

or a county fair. 


techniques of editing, splicing, title wri 

and title making. 

PROJECTION Placing the projector, sci 

and audience ; use of narrative and music. 

FILMING INDOORS-The equipment, pri 

pies and practice of interior lighting 



vanced camera tricks; reverse motion, i 

camera, movies in a mirror, animation, mi 

tures, double exposures and time lapse. 

THINGS FAR AND NEAR-Using the telepl 

lens, and other methods of closeup m< 



and using basic film effects; the fade, lap 

solve, wipe off, moving camera, montage e 

ing and composition. 

MOVIES IN COLOR-Complete characters 

of Kodachrome and Ansco Color; expos 

color film indoors and out; filters for col 

subject matter and lighting contrasts. 

SOUND WITH FILMS-Use of narrative, mi 

and sound effects, on disc or sound tracks. 


business, teaching, science and the church ; 

film story and the documentary. 


petent amateur filmers help pay the freight 

THE MOVIE SHOPPER-Eight or Sixtee 

Buying used equipment; accessories i 




Color and Black and White 
8mm. and 16mm. 

Beginner and Advanced 

Outdoors and Indoc 
. . . all in 311 pages, with how-to-do 
illustrations and full index. 

Read these advance reviews by practicing filmers 
and prominent authorities in the field of amateur 
motion pictures . . . 

"In 25 years of serving thousands of amateur filmers, I am con- 
vinced that all of them might benefit from THE ACL MOVIE BOOK." 
JOSEPH E. DOMBROFF, President, Willoughbys, Inc., New York 

"As one of the first 8mm. filmers on the West Coast, I feel that THE 
ACL MOVIE BOOK is a 'must' for all amateurs 8 or 16." FRED 
EVANS, FACL, Founder President, Los Angeles 8mm. Club. 

"In my 10 years as a photographic editor, I have recommended 
THE ACL MOVIE BOOK more times than I can remember. I am 
happy to do so again." NORRIS HARKNESS, Photo Editor 'New 
York Sun." 

"As the distilled product of two decades' experience, THE ACL 
MOVIE BOOK should be bottled-in-bond aid to all home movie 
makers." FRANK FENNER, JR., APSA, ARPS, Editor "Popular 

"Film planning and the how and why of eqHiiig are made crystal 
clear in the pages of THE ACL MOVIE EJOOK." CARROLL K. 
MICHENER, ACL, Past President, Minneapolis Cine Club. 

* "THE ACL MOVIE BOOK has been a real guide to making better 
movies for nearly 20 of the 25 years I've been in the game. It's full to 
the brim with movie making know-how." NESTOR BARRETT, APSA, 
ARPS, Motion Picture Editor, "Journal of the Photographic Society 
of America." 

"As one who favors color filming of travel, I have found THE ACL 
MOVIE BOOK an invaluable aid to first class results." ARTHUR H. 
ELLIOTT, ACL, Past President, Metro Movie Club of Chicago. 

"The Amateur Cinema League's help to the bewildered amateur 
filmer since 1926 is unquestionable, culminating now in this fine 
edition of THE ACL MOVIE BOOK." CHARLES BASS, President, 
Bass Camera Co., Chicago, III. 

"Not every amateur can meet with his fellows as we do in Chicago. 
But no movie maker need pass up the blue-chip benefits of THE ACL 
MOVIE BOOK." DR. C. ENION SMITH, Founder President, Asso- 
ciated Amateur Cinema Clubs of Chicago. 


Publishers of MOVIE MAKERS, The Magazine for 8mm. and 16mm. Filmers